KARACHI: Urban open spaces in the city seem to have been hijacked, and instead of being an inclusive space, have become more marginalised than thought possible. Numaish Karachi aims to open up these public spaces for more “cultural production” and allow them to develop a more accepting ambience. With over two dozen installations and artefacts set up in the Frere Hall gardens, the exhibition brings together designers, artists, film-makers, scientists and engineers turning the public space into an interactive place for children and adults.
The exhibition incorporates theatre and art to liven up the space. There are carrom boards at one end, specially designed with a transparent board so that lights may be flashed underneath to allow children to play the game at night. At the other is a make-shift life-size saanp-seerhi, also known as snakes and ladders, with children jumping around playing with fake rubber snakes that are such a significant part of almost every childhood. A chaar-doli wallah jhula, (handcrafted Ferris wheel) fast vanishing from the Karachi landscape, was being painted and buffed. Also known as handola in Urdu and chudail in Sindh, this is “an indigenous form of play in Pakistan”. According to the organisers, it first “surfaced in Karachi in the 1950s with the arrival of the Lucky Irani Circus”.
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