Students of various schools and colleges in Pakistan, led by team Artisan, have turned 3,000 walls in the country into amazing works of art
What started in 2010 as a small painting competition involving 250 participants from the universities of Lahore, Pakistan, is today a tale in itself. Streets in Pakistan today depict colourful tales of the country. And the credit for it goes to the Street Art Pakistan project, which encourages school and college students to unleash their creativity and paint the culture, traditions and positive facets of Pakistan on street walls.
Brainchild of Mudassir Zia, founder, Street Art Pakistan, the project took shape when Zia met 16 other like-minded individuals (professionals from various fields) and they offered to volunteer for the cause. Till date the group has covered almost 16 cities of the country, which includes Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Sialkot etc. Zia says, “The idea was to eradicate wall chalking from the city walls and replace it with beautiful images. We also wanted to provide a platform for the young enthusiasts of Pakistan to do something productive for their country.” Further explaining how the project began, he adds, “We started it off in 2010 as a competition involving 250 participants from the universities of Lahore who painted 50 walls in different areas of the city.” Today more than 21,000 participants from 100 different educational institutes have painted more than 3,000 walls (approx 321,100 square feet area) of Pakistan with themes like Truck Art, Education, Peace and Freedom, Provincial Culture, Gates of Lahore and Monuments, Blood Donation, Fight against Dengue and Cleanliness and Culture of Pakistan. Any challenges they faced? “Executing the project for the first time was a huge challenge: from getting permission from the District Commission, engaging and gathering thousands of young people on the streets to managing painting competitions on such large scale canvases,” Zia replies.
The Street Art team has painted the largest wall in the history of Pakistan. Recently, they also painted the largest mural (30,000 square feet) of Pakistan on walls of the MS Garrison Underpass, Lahore. Going beyond, the team strived for the Guinness World Record for the Largest Painting by Numbers with the collaboration of Punjab Government and Master Paints and ended up making history.
“Nothing compares to the sense of achievement you feel when great artists appreciate your work,” emotes Zia, adding, “The one compliment for our work that stayed in my mind came from renowned artist Jamal Shah who said ‘the art you created on the city walls is for those people who cannot go to galleries’.” Despite all that has been achieved, Zia feels this is only the beginning. He adds, “We plan to take Street Art in Pakistan to the next level by spreading it throughout the country and engaging artists from all over the world to create murals on a bigger magnitude.” All we can say is, keep painting!