KARACHI: Climate change is one of the biggest crises being faced by the world today and it is happening at a rapid speed, causing natural disasters, food scarcity, and a myriad of accompanying problems, especially for the underprivileged and vulnerable segments of the global population.
But despite the gravity of the issue, there is an acute dearth of awareness regarding climate change and its effects, particularly in developing countries like Pakistan.
In this regard, the British Council, in partnership with Koel Gallery Karachi, launched an exhibition titled, “Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan — Stories from the Coast” on Friday, August 12.
The exhibition featured multidisciplinary works aimed at raising awareness of the impact of climate change on the coastal areas of Pakistan, particularly its fragile mangrove ecosystem, with a view to promoting sustainable coastal development.
The exhibition will remain on display at the Koel Gallery in Karachi till August 19.
The project is part of the British Council’s Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives programme to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.
The project awarded grants to Pakistan-based artists exploring this theme through a variety of media, culminating in the curated exhibition to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day.
The British Council arranged a diverse selection committee, including experts from the UK, to review applications — a process that was quite intensive, given the large number of high-quality applications that were received. After a detailed vetting exercise, four creative teams were selected to work on this project.
“I am sincerely hoping that these projects, through the common platform of ‘Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan’ amalgamating at Koel Gallery, will begin the process of collective research that records, investigate, and disseminates the awareness of our legacy that needs to be owned, protected and treasured. It is a beginning for this exciting work to continue,” Visual Artist, Curator and Director Koel Gallery, Noorjehan Bilgrami said.
Director Arts, British Council Pakistan Laila Jamil believes that art has the potential to challenge and change mindsets for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
“Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan’ has been a very exciting project for us — to have been a part of the selection of such wonderful artists and activists, to be able to see the variety of topics they have chosen, their sensitive approaches, deep research, and love of their respective areas of work — it has been a privilege to be part of their creative journey. We believe art has the potential to challenge and change mindsets for a more sustainable and inclusive future,” she added.
Take a look at the projects.
One of the artists who showcased their work at the exhibition was Mahera Omar. Her project comprised a silent cinematic journey through a delicate wetland ecosystem on the shores of an industrial city, documenting the precious biodiversity which is in grave danger of being lost.
Artists Marvi Mazhar, Abuzar Madhu and Swalay Muhammad’s work consisted of the exploration of the sacred geography of the urban/rural estuary where the river meets the coast, focusing on Khizr, the Darya Shah, whose coordinates are sometimes imaginary on liquid grounds in the form of Astana, a promised space to protect the coast from climatic and human infrastructural ruptures.
Moreover, artists Taqi Shaheen and Sara Khan Pathan have been working on a research project to design a board game called ‘Machi Wachi’. It acts as a storytelling interface for reflection and ecological understanding about the scarcity of natural resources around Bhit Island.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Janan Sindhu’s work is a series of immersive installations of fabric and video that speak to the plight of one of Pakistan’s shyest animals, the Indus River Dolphin, as well as the communities that have been key to its conservation.