4 Days Art Workshop
at Government Zia-ul-Uloom High School, Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Conducted by "HAREEP PAKISTAN"
Ayub Wali - Coordinator Hareep Pakistan
Hassan Mustafa - Program Coordinator - Vasl Artists' Collective
Sponsored by: Prince Claus Fund
Support by: Vasl Artists' Collecive, Redline studios
Fozia wali - Foundation University - Rawalpindi
Sundus Shahid & Benazir from - NCA – Rawalpindi
Feroza, Ayesha, & Manahil iqbal from - Fatima Jinnah Women University - Rawalpindi
Bilal khan Independent Artist – Rawalpindi
The Government School of Zia-ul-Uloom is situated in Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi. The students who attend all live in the surrounding areas, including some of the poorest areas of Rawalpindi. Their experience of an artistic curriculum is limited, due to the fact that art supplies are an expensive luxury in a society where the main focus centre’s on the achievement of profit. Despite this, I was impressed, and in some instances astonished, at the natural artistic skill and enthusiasm the students showed during the workshop.
There were hundred and fifty (150) registered students from Zia-ul-Uloom school for Hareep workshop.
The theme of this four day workshop was focused on the surrounding neighborhoods and the homes of the students. Day one, the students were encouraged to draw an image that they associated with their home. The resulting works showed a variety of themes, with some of the students drawing their house and neighborhood, to others depicting their ideas of Pakistan and family. Day two the students were given paper and scissors and were encouraged to experiment with collages and different shapes. On the last two days of the workshop, the students were asked to draw maps showing the routes from their houses to the school. At the end of the session, some of the students demonstrated the routes on a larger map, in front of their peers.
By keeping the themes of the workshop flexible, the students were challenged to find their own methods of visual representation and produced work that they were proud of. All the students were eager to show what they had achieved during the four days and were equally eager to learn a few new skills from their HAREEP teachers.
The workshop was delayed due to the unfortunate incident of the bombing in Raja Bazaar, 9th April. One of the students unfortunately witnessed the incident. With 23 people killed and numerous others injured, we are reminded that Pakistan, though filled with great promise and hardworking people, can still be an unpredictable place. However, organisations such as HAREEP are vital to the education of the children of Pakistan. With the expansion of artistic awareness comes the understanding of different cultures and ways of life. I have personally witnessed that when all other channels of communication are blocked, artistic education is the channel that crosses all boundaries.
A foreigner member of Hareep Pakistan’s observation during the four day workshop
As a stranger to both their country and language, I thought that I would take a back seat during the workshop, as an observer rather than a participant. But this workshop has shown me that art is a universal language, and that complete strangers from different cultural backgrounds can communicate through any artistic medium. I found myself surrounded by eager students as I drew my neighborhood in Australia and compared it with their own. Through art, we were able to exchange ideas and stories about our lives, as well as giving the students different artistic skills.