Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Colors of Political Protest in Pakistan

What does it feel like to be a young adult in Pakistan? Is the country really the way the media presents it with themes of terrorism, religious extremism, oppression of women, or any other volatile topic that attracts attention? Some artwork from the Visual Communications students at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore tells a different story.

During my last week in Lahore, several design students submitted artwork that reflects their experiences about the current state of affairs in their homeland. One of them was a floor sculpture – a large map of Pakistan (8 x 3 feet / 2.5 x 1 meters), covered with green hands, reaching upwards. (The color of the flag of Pakistan is green.) The piece is a true testimony to the search for peace and stability in Pakistan.

Another compelling political statement was a photographic image of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) that American drones are bombing. “Hellwood” (in bold white letters evocative of the world famous "Hollywood Sign”) was placed on top of the camouflage-colored mountains. Ali Haider, whose ancestors are from Afghanistan, came up with the concept and Janaka, an exchange student from Sri Lanka, did the graphic work. This image presents another view – that of the tragedy of daily life - in this region . Although there may be pockets of militancy and religious extremism in the remote tribal areas, there are 21,000,000 people (none of whom have connection to terrorists) who are simply struggling to survive in this mountainous area, appropriately labeled “Hellwood.”

Perhaps these students can realistically present the colors of the peace we all seek.

LINK to a page with more comments and all the images.

1 comment:

aufidius said...

brilliant stuff!