Street art – theirs and ours

Southasia - - EDITOR’S MAIL - Has­nain Mirza Is­lam­abad, Pak­istan

I thor­oughly en­joyed Asna Ali’s ar­ti­cle on street art in Iran. I have seen a num­ber of Ira­nian films and am a great fan of their cin­ema but I did not know about this new mode of self-ex­pres­sion that the Ira­nian youth has taken a lik­ing to. My be­lief in the fact that you can’t sup­press a people’s cre­ativ­ity – no mat­ter how many re­stric­tions and bans you place – has in­creased man­i­fold. But there is some­thing I don’t un­der­stand. The Pak­istani na­tion has lived un­der mil­i­tary rules for the most part of the coun­try’s ex­is­tence. Why hasn’t this un­leashed our cre­ative demons in a sim­i­lar way?

Why is it that we do have a ‘street art’ scene but it is com­pletely dif­fer­ent in na­ture? In­stead of pithy so­cial and po­lit­i­cal mes­sages, we see ad­ver­tise­ments of quacks, slo­gans of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and other ran­dom silly notes on our walls. The only pos­i­tive point about them is that at times the stu­pid­ity of a mes­sage or the com­bi­na­tion of two en­tirely dif­fer­ent mes­sages brings a smile to one’s face. For in­stance, I have seen this wall where the fa­mous slo­gan ‘Pak­istan ka mat­lab kiya?’ was fol­lowed by the advertisement of a ‘Haseena Beauty Par­lor’. Is that all we are able to come up with?

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