Art for Climate Change

Sep 11 2018 | 11:01:57
Report on the Practitioners’ Retreat 2018   Art for social change” is a movement that is increasingly being used for addressing and challenging social issues. Socially engaged art can provide a platform for reflection, creating demands for change and collaboration. It can reach out to a large audience.   To address the issue of climate change and ancillary aspects like biodiversity loss and eco-degradation, a consortium of five different Pakistani organizations came together in July 2018 to organize an “Art for Climate Change” retreat in Northern Areas of Pakistan. These were Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC), Snow Leopard Foundation, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Gallery 6 Islamabad and East-West Center Association-Islamabad Chapter (EWCA-IC). This retreat was the second edition of a similar event held in 2016 by Gallery 6 and Ministry of Climate Change.   As in 2016, the purpose of this retreat was to enhance advocacy and outreach by bringing together artists of Pakistan to travel and observe places in order to appreciate issues around biodiversity, climate change, environmental degradation and conservation efforts in northern Pakistan. This has enabled and facilitated development of products (such as paintings, photographs, sculptures, documentary, short visual stories) which would attract media, groups, individuals and all stakeholders to learn about and explore factors leading to climate change and its resultant negative impacts. This in turn will lead to critical thinking, new ideas and inspirations, and hopefully positive actions, for creating and spreading awareness about these factors and combating their negative effects.   The group was led by Dr. Arjumand Faisel, Curator of Gallery 6, and brought together (a) 11 artists [Sajid Ali (Peshawar), Ajab Khan (DI Khan),  Asad Asghar (Mansehra), Muhammad Tariq (Chakwal), Khayyam (Lahore), Irfan Gul Dahri (Lahore), Abid Khan (Lahore), Muhammad Arshad (Lahore), Kiran Saleem (Lahore), Fakhra Asif (Lahore)]. (b) Film Maker and Photographers - Ali Ijaz (Islamabad), Amna Yaseen (Lahore), and (d) journalist Afia salam, (e) Manager - Asad Ghufran (PhD), Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences, IIU, Islamabad.  Syed Abu Ahmad Akif (Chairman PTDC), Ms. Ayesha Khan (CEO, CSCCC). Ambassador (retd) Tariq Zameer, an avid photographer, also joined the group for 3 days.   The places visited by the participants from 30 July to 08 August 2018included Naran, Batakundi, Lulusar Lake Gittidas, Babusar Top and Lake Saiful Muluk . On site, the participants worked on their sketch books, paper sheets, canvases as well as through camera lenses to create their artworks.  They have brought back these initial inputs and are continuing to work in their studios. These are expected to be ready by mid-September and will be exhibited in October.   The expected outputs are paintings of beautiful landscapes depicting biodiversity, natural environmental serenity and their vulnerability to disasters AND conceptual paintings with thought provoking imagery that draws attention to environmental issues. Photographs, highlighting issues of destructions, degradation and devastations being caused by humans. A short film on the retreat with visual stories on factors affecting climate change and effect/damages to environment because of climate change.   During the retreat, participants also cleaned two lakes: Lulusar and Saiful Muluk. They collected garbage in biodegradable bags and cleaned the banks. Local people and tourists alike were involved in cleaning of the area. Participants actively advocated adoption of the habit of not spreading garbage and collecting it in degradable bags.   This retreat will be a big step in Pakistan’s efforts to create awareness about factors leading to climate change and resultant negative impacts among media personnel, families and individuals through one or more of the following actions:   (a) an exhibition in October 2018, (b) Use of social media - participants and organizers have actively used social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram) during retreat days and will also share its “products”, (c) sharing information nationally and internationally through media coverage by press, radio and TV channels, (d) circulating information describing the art residency and exhibition internationally through Gallery 6 emails and East-West Center newsletter to reflect Pakistan’s awareness and interest in issues of biodiversity, climate change, degradation and environmental conservation.