Stifling traffic and power outages don’t define the city for me. For me, Karachi is all about grey skies, grey waters and gandi deewarain. A year or so ago, when the project ‘Re-imagining the Walls of Karachi’ hit the streets, or should I say walls, I was over the moon simply thinking about it. Murals in Karachi to replace the political and religious anger graffiti’d on the walls? I know the humour (and information) Baba Bengali and the numerous dawakhanas provided will be missed but something bright and cheerful to look at and hey, it’s not a stupid billboard!
I believe I had stepped out for lunch with my coworkers when I caught a glimpse of a pair of merry wings on a colorless wall. I snapped my head around and craned my neck out but alas, Careem just drove us straight to our destination. And two days later what do I see on my Instagram? A pretty model donning a cape posing with them.
And that is how I discovered the existence of a flock of artists that go by the name Awara Parindey!
6 students from different universities teamed up and armed themselves with spray paints to tackle the bleakness of our city walls. With the patronage of Facebook, we were able to have a small electronic conversation, and although they only have three murals up, I am already excited to see their fourth mural. And their fifth. Sixth and seventh as well! You get what I mean.
Q. Who are you guys and where did you come from?
A. We are a group of artists, designers, filmmaker and just generally creative thinkers. We are all from Karachi and currently university students that met at an internship.
Q. Thank you for introducing surreal to Karachi. What inspired you? What’s the origin story?
A. Basically we were part of an internship that didn’t work out. We had worked on mural designs for a good 5-6 weeks. At the time we were not familiar with each other’s artistic strengths and weaknesses. But in the end when our internship did not work out, we decided to do something independently because overtime we had gotten to know each other quite well.
Since it was us making art, on our terms, it was more about making stuff for ourselves and owning up to being ourselves. We really want to depict freedom in not just one form. If you look at our very first mural, the thought went behind it was to take away from reality. Other than that, we genuinely as artists, felt our potential was going to waste by not doing anything. In the end it just became a good outlet to express ourselves. Now we simply want to build a culture and just celebrate ourselves
Q. What is the process before the art goes up and during the creation of it?
A. We take either of two approaches to our work. Either we plan it out really well, over the course of many meetings, making stencils, discussing different designs and colour schemes touring the city to choose the perfect wall OR we just get up one Sunday morning, head out with our spray cans with no former plan to what we’re making or where we’re doing it and wing it. Spontaneous.
Q. Any problems with the civilians…? Or shop owners or chowkidars or police….
A. Usually people stare out of curiosity but you do get the occasional bad looks. Mostly the response is appreciative and we even got a job offer the second time. It really just varies depending on place to place.
Q. Are you guys up for collaborations? Maybe with NGOs or bigger corporations?
A. That would be great and we would be more than willing to do so. Something that satisfies the client when need be yet is socially provocative and comes face to face with the existing issues. We do have a lot of potential clients lined up. Currently we’re working on something for a digital company but that’s really all we can say at this point.
Q. Where is your artwork up and ready to be witnessed?
A. We’ve done three murals up till now at Tipu Sultan, Bukhari Commercial and in Mohammad Ali. Sure, it’s just a start but it’s great to have been noticed although it’s just been two months.
Meet the parindey!
Abeer Ahmed is the happy go lucky, hard-working, down-for-anything kind of gal. She keeps the team motivated and gets them all out of bed on Sunday mornings. She’s studying Communication and Design from Habib University.
Mansoor Mansa is extremely resourceful, street/internet smart who likes to make movies. He’s currently enrolled in SZABIST’s BBA Program. Affectionately referred to as the car guy.
Rida Noor emits a very chill vibe and is great at representing her ideas on paper. She’s the only one who actually goes to art school. IVS of course.
Ali Shamim is the workhorse. He juggles several personal projects and Awara Parindey work at the same time; great work ethic. He’s very well connected and gets AP work offers.
Zoha Bundally thinks critically and creates a discourse that is important for the execution process. Moreover, she brings a very retro sense of style to the group that is different from the rest.
Mustafa Siddiqui, also studying Communication & Design from Habib University, designed the AP’s first street art project. He likes to stay behind the scenes and entertain the flock. He brings two things to the table – great energy and strong opinions.
Fun fact: Zoha and Mustafa don’t always see eye to eye which makes things a lot more interesting and hilarious for the group.
And there you have it!
I absolutely love the reclaimed walls near KPT, Millenium Mall, Expo Centre and the Airport. They have conditioned our eyes to forget the grey and embrace the explosion of colour. I’d like to believe people take pictures against these walls that are witnessed by curious eyes all over the globe. Imagine if our walls join the ranks of those hailing from Malaysia, England, Morocco and Cuba.
After being enthralled and entertained by the artworks of Phool Patti (https://www.facebook.com/phoolpatti1/) and Abdoz Arts (https://www.facebook.com/AbdozArtCompany/), let’s welcome Awara Parindey into the fold.
Please show them some love on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AwaraParindey17/
and definitely follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/awaraparindey17/