For Munaqqash Official Launch Report clieck Here

For the past twenty years, Karachi has been under one form of renovation or the other with little to show for it. Worryingly, when we look around, the whole color palette of this city seems either brown or gray. We see mostly bricks and walls without vibrancy unless it’s a newly constructed apartment building or a mall. The worst bit is the decrepit state of these buildings and pieces of infrastructure that have fallen into decay because of a lack of basic care taking.

Munaqqash is a project in which a group of artists working with I AM KARACHI renovated an abandoned canteen within the National Museum premises and turned it into an interactive and vibrant piece of art; a Public Installation. Since we would like to continue this project for public spaces that fit the bill, this project has been based on recycling, sculpting and painting.

IAK took its inspiration from the Heidelberg Project, a ground breaking initiative that was birthed in 1986 by Tyree Guyton, an artist who was shocked to see the state of his hometown in Detroit post the 1967 riots and downfall of the Detroit motor industry. His years away from his home in the army did nothing to dissuade his love for his neighborhood, in particular, The Heidelberg Street.

We aim to develop the city to a point where every passing public space is a work of art, a thing of beauty to behold.

Despite the area being characterized by high levels of blight and poverty, the evolving art work grew as Tyree worked on the Heidelberg Project daily with the children on the block. He and director Jenenne Whitfield gave lectures and workshops on the project around the country. Their main goal was to develop the Heidelberg Project into the city’s first indoor and outdoor museum, complete with an artists’ colony, creative art centre, community garden, amphitheatre and more.

I AM KARACHI aims to take the National Museum project forward into others, with the ultimate objective being a cleaner and more vibrant Karachi, with Public Art Installations ensuring people get to interact with pieces of art on every corner! And it has already proven to be a success. Ever since the launch of Munaqqash, societies like SFS from Lyari have hosted several open mic events, signalling the beginning of a new era- an era where Karachiites are no longer afraid of stepping out and reclaiming our public spaces. The fact that the Original Heidelberg Project acknowledges IAKs initiative goes on to show that we have to be the change we want to make.