October issue 2011
Multimedia Exhibit Delves into Lives of Victims of Karachi Violence
The Bigger Picture
A bomb explodes in Karachi and 24/7 TV and newspaper reporters throng the scene to give you an eyewitness account of the story as it unfolds. But after plying you with the cold, hard facts of the event, the reporters quickly move on to the next big story. Within hours, today’s victims become yesterday’s news and their stories are consigned to the backburner. ‘This is My Story,’ a multimedia exhibit curated by the Citizens Archive Foundation (CAP), which opened its doors at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) gallery on September 12, attempted to look beyond the narrative by delving into the lives of those directly affected by the endemic violence that plagues the city of Karachi. CAP’s curators, Sophia Balagamwala and Sanam Maher, created space where victims could share their stories so that the resulting discourse could pave the way to understanding the real implications of violence. Using various tools, including photographs, audio guides, newspaper blow-ups, visual aids and drawings, the 16 artists who were featured in this initiative, focused on stories relating to suicide bombings, sectarian and ethnic violence and target killings. The exhibit included audio interviews of a veteran and a young reporter recording their feelings at the scene of a bomb blast, photographs by Fazeelat Aslam, whose family home suffered collateral damage in a suicide attack, and a section titled ‘Shock Wave,’ which displayed images of those wounded in shootings and their loved ones, who displayed tremendous courage and tenacity as they struggled to cope with the tragedies of life. The exhibit also included a space for bloggers, (in collaboration with The Express Tribune), who had contributed their ideas to the competition titled “Dialogue for Change.”
This exhibit is part of a broader initiative, “Dialogue with Pakistan,” launched by CAP in March this year, which aims to explore the cankerous violence and creates a meeting point for citizens to thrash out solutions. CAP’s school outreach tour is just one aspect of this initiative in conflict regions that engages children to teach them that violence is not the answer.
Despite the torrential rains in Karachi at the time of the exhibition’s launch, there was a continuous stream of students, activists and ordinary citizens who turned up to support this endeavour.
Maheen Bashir Adamjee is an APNS award-winning journalist. She was an editorial assistant at Newsline from 2010-2011.