Reel On Hai:
In Karachi, the cable reel can found on roadsides and construction sites everywhere. Reel On Hai, was a project that began as an idea when I used to see empty discarded cable reels lying near my house. Being a trustee and founder member of The Karachi Biennale Trust, I decided to use this platform to start a public outreach project. This ambitious project was aimed at rescuing an industrial waste product and recycling it into art.
With Pakistan Cables on board as the Main Activity partner an open call was sent out to artists, architects and designers, who came up with interesting and innovative ways in which to transform the mundane object.
The cable reel can also be seen as the symbol of the industry that changed a sleepy harbor town into the manufacturing powerhouse of the country. The miles of cable these reels’ hold are the tentacles that deliver power to rapidly expanding neighborhoods that accommodate the 22 million souls that live here. Karachi is a city made ugly by the excessive garbage it produces so art from discarded objects would be a powerful green gesture that would recycle waste and elevate it with imagination and innovation.
Permissions for sites in the city were difficult to come by except for a few sites permitted by the city government. We thus took the next best option and positioned the reels where we could get the maximum public interaction.
So far around 39 reel artworks done by 58 artists installed at various locations all around Karachi. From Orangi Town to Saddar from Gulshan-e-Maymar to Garden East, artists designers and architects from Pakistan and abroad have worked on site to engage communities living around the site.
Other than creating a successful collaboration between the artists and the corporate sector, the most encouraging part about this project was that it managed to rope in the stake holders of the city. The Outreach Committee of the Karachi Biennale 2017 managed to unite artists, designers, businessmen, educators, consulates, the Catholic archdiocese, doctors, hoteliers and students. Everyone gave freely of their time and talent for the betterment of the city.