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Karachi Rising; A Much Needed Initiative

The youth of a country is its biggest asset, something that nobody can deny. From all the baby steps that one could take to bring a change, the youth of Pakistan has always been ahead to support the idea of rehabilitation. Recently, a clean-up campaign was organized by an art agency known as Abdoz Arts and with the help of students from Indus Valley School, a particular street was taken over by them which was first cleaned up of all the garbage and later on, the walls were vibrantly painted with beautiful graffiti that added up to the brilliance of the concept.

After this beautifying campaign, the Indus Valley School then nominated Institute of Business Administration to carry out this challenge of making Karachi clean and beautiful. IBA with the help and concept of Abdoz Arts carried out this challenge successfully and challenged SZABIST next. The institute that was challenged by SZABIST happened to be my own university that is The Institute of Business Management.

The excitement that followed the acceptance of the challenge was energetic and high-spirited. Wanting to put in our own efforts to bring a change, no matter how minute that was, the students of IoBM were enthusiastically coming together to take part in the upcoming challenge.

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After the success of the campaign at IoBM, I caught up with Umer Asim, who is currently studying in the Institute of Business Management and is also the Creative Head and Co-Founder of Abdoz Arts, for getting an insight into what made a group of five university students to come up with the idea of bringing a revolution through art.

‘We were sitting at a dhaaba one day when over a cup of chai, we were taken over by the idea of how we can bring a change in Karachi by using what we are best at: Art. We then took this idea to Khoala Jamil, a teacher at the Indus Valley School of Architecture who further guided us on how we can carry out our creative ideas and her support really gave us the boost that we needed.’

Cleaning a particular chosen spot is one thing, drawing paintings is another. On asking him why they would paint the walls along with cleaning of the chosen spots, he said that walls of our country are made to look unappealing by all the unwanted chalking of people who put up their advertisements illegally and it puts a bad impression on tourism as well.

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‘When we take over a spot to fix and paint and draw on the walls around it, we do not do it illegally. We always have the legal permission by whoever that owns the walls that we choose, which is then followed by the art attack.’

Umer said that the things they draw and paint are not useless, their drawings actually carry out a message to the masses to open up their minds and change what is needed to be changed. Their drawings are not just painting made by students, but they also focus on different social issues and spread awareness.

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On the other hand, I asked him how the people generally react to the idea of art put up on the walls that they would otherwise liked to be cleaned.

‘There are certainly people who complain about how we shouldn’t be drawing on the walls but the general outcome that Karachi gave us was not what we expected and we were pleasantly surprised at how the city of lights accepted this idea of giving positive messages through art and is enthusiastically working with us and have made this campaign a success.’

Over a period of five months only, different schools and universities have worked together with Abdoz Arts to bring a much needed revolution that encourages the idea to clean and beautify Karachi. This campaign also tells the world how the youth of Pakistan wants to bring a positive change and rid themselves of all vices that have so commonly spread out in the country.

The aim of Abdoz Arts is to bring an art renaissance in Pakistan, as art is something that speaks louder than words and still is not appreciated as much as it should be in our country.

Umer hopes that this initiative brings a sense of responsibility among the people of Karachi to clean and not litter the streets and work towards making our city look well-formed and beautiful, a thought that we should all work on making possible.

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