EWCA-Islamabad Chapter (EWCA-IC) members participated in “Connecting Classroom” activity sponsored by the British Council and organized at the Islamabad College for Girls (ICG) in Sector F-6/2, on 20 January 2010. Under this activity, students, both boys and girls, from 5 schools (4 public and 1 private) came together to sing, dance and present theatre, and learn collectively from each other through different activities and from invited speakers. The program was part of the 3 day inspirational fair, the main objective for which was to share various inspirational ideas and thoughts with a larger community of the students at the same time and space. The themes of the fair were TOLERANCE THROUGH EDUCATION, SELF RELIANCE, and UNDERSTANDING MINORITIES. For example, another segment of the event was a talk by a Buddhist briefing about the philosophy and practices of the religion, followed by a presentation about Gandhara from the archeologist’s perspective.
Geytee Ara, the activity coordinator of the event and a teacher at the ICG College invited EWCA-IC President (Dr. Arjumand Faisel) to talk about “art in Pakistan from 1947 (creation of Pakistan) to 2010”. This invitation was shared with active members of the Chapter, who immediately opted to participate in the activity. Dr. Faisel prepared a multi media presentation on the topic and presented it to over 400 students ranging from grade 4 to 12 and their teachers. Majority of the participants had not been involved in any serious art activity. Four members of EWCA-IC also attended the event (Tayyeba Gul, Munawwar Sultana, Ashfa and Fateh). The presentation was spell bounding and was followed by very probing questions from several students of primary and secondary grades. Their questions reflected immense interest in the subject and a desire to know more about art in Pakistan and elsewhere and consequences of adopting it as a profession.
A brief video showing the EWC building in Honolulu from outside, its art gallery with display of “UNSEEN VISIONS” an exhibition of contemporary Pakistani paintings and comments of its curator, Michael Schuster, about Pakistani art was also shown. The students applauded thunderously on his praise for Pakistani paintings.
The organizers were extremely pleased with this participation of EWCA-IC and requested for collaboration in future activities also. In their opinion, the presentation was very comprehensive, highly motivational and inspiring, which is likely to have a significant effect on students. They reported hearing very positive comments from the students, immediately after the presentation:
“This gives me the belief that we can still purse our passion while fulfilling our parents desire to become doctor or engineer.”
“I have now more hope than before to convince my parents to let me take up fine art as my career”
“I never realized before that we have all this in Pakistan”.
“I always had desire to pursue art, but always curbed it. But now I think I should start doing it also” – a teacher