Pakistan’s largest city has suffered 13,500 killings in the past five years – a level of violence that has severely restricted the use of its public spaces. So a group of local residents decided it was time to reclaim them for the people of Karachi.
Karachi, a city known for intractable political conflict and as a shelter for militants from the Afghan wars, has difficulty escaping its reputation as the world’s most violent megacity. It has suffered some 13,500 killings in the past five years – a level of violence that has significantly degraded public safety and access to public spaces, and has instead encouraged the creation of sectarian, ethnic and political enclaves.
But as a city of 20 million, Karachi also has a diversity, vitality and complexity that is infrequently explored in mass-media accounts of its character. It is Pakistan’s urban dynamo: a hub of business, shipping and manufacturing as well as culture and education.
In April this year, a group of Karachi residents decided to show fellow residents that they could express a positive and playful vision of their city. “Numaish”(Urdu for exhibition) was an open-air event of creative installations intended to open minds to another way of seeing the city.