I can’t believe it has already been over a week since I landed in Lahore. Four workshops, about 200 artists, curators, and teachers, and a whole new appreciation of Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, and the power of collaboration and storytelling through art. Just like Lawrence and other artists working during the Harlem Renaissance, participants here have worked together to tell their stories–some are stories of identity and personal struggle, others are stories about Pakistani history, from ancient to contemporary.
I have been struck this week by how similar we all are. We all want to make a difference, and we all want our voices to be heard (particularly by those we feel aren’t listening.)
Teenagers will be teenagers. They’ll pout about being separated from their friends, they’ll hesitate and struggle with a new group of peers, and then they’ll find their confidence and make amazing things happen.
Artists will be artists. They’ll walk around barefoot, pour tea on their paper and then paint with it, take too many smoke breaks, and keep a serious face during the goofy group pictures. They’ll also collaborate to create strong, powerful narratives that help us to understand their point of view, often on a profound level.
The details of personal stories here in Pakistan may be different than those I’ve encountered in my work in the United States, but many of their themes are universal–life can be very hard, understanding history is important, and sometimes we have to sacrifice and make great change in the hope of creating a better life.
I’m looking forward to working with another 200 (give or take a few!) participants this week in Islamabad. I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing things they create!
Rachel Goldberg, Manager of School, Outreach, and Family Programs