It’s not often we bring news about watercolour painting from South Asia, and even less often that it comes from Pakistan. The
simple news here is that Kuch Khaas, a type of creative arts centre in the capital Islamabad is holding a month long watercolour techniques workshop for beginners.
More on that later but let’s first have a look at Kuch Khaas and what sort of organisation it is. Shayan Afzal Khan is the brains behind the project and is only a handful of years old. The centre themselves describe themselves as a “…centre for arts, culture and dialogue, a not-for-profit social enterprise [and] is a community space for interaction, public discourse, cultural and intellectual pursuits, and civic engagement.” It has also been described it as a “…community space for meaningful dialogue and creative expression,” among other things.
Much of its focus has been on extra education for children and to enable them to explore their own creativity outside what Khan feels is the stifling atmosphere of standard education. Apart from painting, Kuch Khaas offers many vocational courses for the practical side of things as well as a media centre, a library, performance arts facilities and of course a cafe. There’s a nominal fee for those who can afford it and it’s free for those who can’t, meaning people from different walks of life can mix together in this productive environment.
The watercolour techniques course is being run by Mahjabeen Atif, a graduate of the National College of Arts who believes that the gateway to one’s creativity is to master the elementary techniques of that medium. Reinforcing this point she said that “…when you don’t have to agonize over the “how” you are free to paint your dreams.”
Ultimately everyone involved at Kuch Khaas would like the centre to a driver for social and cultural change within the country and for us, it’s always gratifying to report on a good news story from a country with the problems that Pakistan has.