written by Raania Azam Khan Durrani
I found creative freedom at Faraar.
I stumbled upon PeaceNiche few years ago, at a time when creativity seemed bound by red tape and repetition. As the visual art coordinator at PeaceNiche, I am blessed to work with some of the bravest, sharpest and most sensitive people in the country. At PeaceNiche and at Faraar; our playground for creative expression, we are not afraid to explore energies and take chances. Faraar is not just a gallery, but a multi faceted, multi dimensional space that welcomes and serves positivity and honest efforts. Faraar thrives on the energy, zest and professionalism of the artists that are drawn to it. Art is ageless, and it has no bounds. Faraar has always and continues to welcome those who convey and emote through their work, young and old, emerging or established, painter or potter, our doors are open to creators who wish to share.
It has been quite a journey so far, filled with excitement, sweat and smiles. In 2010 the team at PeaceNiche began questioning the art norms in the city. Who are we as an art space? Where do we stand amidst the crowd of commercial galleries and the high-end arts? What can we do for artists? What is it that defines us best and our beliefs of giving back to the community? These are the questions we asked each other. The same year we decided to make some changes and steered away, if only for a while, from solo art showcases. Why make it formal and exclusive, when we can really reach out and have some more fun? That year sitting in ‘The room that houses the crazy ones’, ‘Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar’ was born, it was not a version of the ‘Art Lootmar’, that Faraar had been hosting, but rather a renewed and more directed offspring of it.
It was young; it was just an idea at the time. I hand picked fourteen artists, mostly painters and potters, we set up shops and we sold work. It was simply satisfying, as the curator to see artists becoming a team and help sell each others works, discussing the art making process, making plans, drinking tea, understanding who we all are as artists. It could not end there. A few months later Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar 2, which by now had become JHAB 2 was in its developing stages.
The team sat down on the round ‘Pakistan Cables’ appropriated conference table and decided to initiate the ‘PeaceNiche Public Art Project’. We simply wished to cultivate a new audience for the arts. Make art available and accessible to all. The stunning Sabeen Mahmud drafted a stellar document, and the process began. At JHAB 2 we hosted and collaborated with over ninety visual artists, craftspeople and performance artists. The three-day event tested our mettle. It was spread out in two spaces, namely the gallery, the plot next door and pretty much on the street too. I would specially like to thank and mention the truck artists, painters, the Overload band and young students who all came forth and supported the cause, they all believed in the making of a new viewership, and despite our very limited funds worked with us, generously engaging with the crowds, mentoring, teaching and being joyous.
Soon after Faraar hosted the ‘Pyaar Pop-Up Shop’ in early 2013. That was an idea born on the closing night of JHAB 2, we wanted to do something ‘Rangeen’, something ‘Shouqeen’, and so we did.
JHAB 3 took place this summer, a different taste, but the same goal. This time around over 30 visual artists and craftspeople took over the gallery space and set up shops. Yes, I agree it was crowded, a bit crazy even, but it worked. We were not able to use the plot but we did use the ‘Utility Store’ shutters across from us, for street screenings titled ‘ Shutter Down’, an idea first explored by Insiya Syed at JHAB2. This time we screened video documentation of performance art shows by Amin Gulgee, and the sultry and racy ‘Behind the scenes’ of the music video ‘My Punjabi Love for You’ by Adnan Malik Productions. JHAB 3 also hosted street screenings by the ‘Tentative Collective’. Yes, on the closing night of ‘JHAB 3’ new plans were born again, the plan was to mix it up.
In October we had a show titled ‘Hero-Worship’ dedicated to Pakistani Cricketing stars. The artist, Shanzay Subzwari, is still a student at art school, and worked for several months, producing work, making decisions and learning from doing.
The Faraar Gallery has hosted some wonderful artists this year including Taqi Shaheen who showed his ‘Dhandli’ series in July 2013, Tahir Bhatti who makes fine ink drawings of women and their auras, Craftsmen Jani Soomro and Abdul Majid Soomro of Sindh, JP Chohan, chauffer in the day, artist by night, Raam Laal who made incredibly bright parrots of found objects for the Pyaar Shop – and my personal favourite Pervez Rana, master cinema painter who has painted vivid portraits of luscious icons, my favourite was his Frida, which I now proudly own.
Here we are again, thinking forward, shall we mix it up again? Yes we must. So this year look out for some exciting new projects at the Faraar Gallery at PeaceNiche.
Currently, Faraar is hosting the ‘Paanch Hazaar ki Deevar’, a selection of work all to be sold at Rs.5000/- each, this is also a part of the PeaceNiche Public Art Project.
Following that, Faraar will bring you works of two eclectic and very enthusiastic painters, Nazr-ul-Islam from Hyderabad, and Sarah Bakhtiyar of Karachi. Do follow our facebook page for details.
Bring us your best energy, bring us your ideas, come be free at Faraar.
NOTE: The Faraar Gallery welcomes artists/craftspeople to share their links with the curator at firstname.lastname@example.org, please note we DO NOT accept attachments only links. Once reviewed, shortlisted artists are contacted for upcoming opportunities. As per policy Faraar does not exhibit calligraphic/religiously inclined work. The gallery charges a 30% facilitation fee on all sales.