A giant wooden spool has been causing quite a commotion on the Eduljee Dinshaw Road in Kharadar.
Visitors from all over the city drop by to stare at the spool – or wooden reel, which was put on display last week and has around 70 animals, fauna and flora from across the country on it.
The spool, an art piece by Italian wildlife artist Maurizio Boscheri, is a present from the Italian government to the citizens of Karachi to celebrate the rich biodiversity of Pakistan and a part of the Karachi Biennale Trust.
“The idea behind this was to put 70 animals, flowers, plants, insects – basically nature, to represent 70 years of Pakistan,” said Mr Boscheri’s translator Mario Liberali. “This is our present to the Pakistani people.”
On their third visit to the country, Mr Liberali and the artist said that they were enamoured by the city. “The city has been good to us and the people very kind,” said the artist, adding that he had been to the country twice before – once for an exhibition at the Mohatta Palace Museum.
Mr Boscheri, who works mostly with mixed mediums, oil paints, Swarovski crystals, laces, cloth and stone, said that he wanted to create an awareness about animals and nature in the country.
“When he was young, he was in love with nature, had a lot of pets and would often look after injured animals,” said Mr Liberali.
“It wasn’t till after a trip to Australia, Madagascar and India at the age of 40 that he decided to start painting,” he said. “He was so inspired he started right away. His first exhibition was titled ‘Nature and Dreams.”
Explaining how Mr Boscheri got involved in the project, Mr Liberali said that during their last trip to Pakistan, the World Wildlife Fund got in touch with him.
“Since he feels very strongly about nature it was something he wanted to pursue and here we are,” he added.
Discussing their itinerary, his translator said that they had held talks at Karachi University, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and many other places.
“Maurizio [Boscheri] doesn’t care if people buy his work, he loves it if people say they like his stuff or if it makes them feel closer to nature,” said Mr Liberali.
“His style has evolved so much over the years,” he said, adding that the artist likes to make his work look very dreamlike.
“Sometimes while looking at his works people feel like the animals are talking to them – he wants them to feel a connection with nature,” he added.
According to Italian Consul General Gianluca Rubagotti, he was approached by the Trust and WWF to nominate and invite an artist who would like to paint and be a part of this project.
“I immediately thought of Maurizio because he has already been to Pakistan twice before – this is his third visit in 12 months. He didn’t know anything about Pakistan and he fell in love with the country, people and culture after his first visit,” said Mr Rubagotti.
“He had a very successful exhibition at the Mohatta palace last August – he was the first foreign artist to have a solo exhibition there,” he added.
Maurizio is a wildlife artist, said the consul general, he embraces nature and this call for preservation and conservation of nature.
The idea behind this spool, he explained is that in 2017 Pakistan will turn 70 years old so this is a gift from the Italian people to the people of Karachi and Pakistan, a gift which should remind everybody of one treasure – one of the many treasures that Paksitan has to offer-- the rich biodiversity of the country.
“So to represent 70 years we decided to put 70 different species of birds, insects, flowers, plants, animals – each one of which can be found in Pakistan and has been validated by the WWF,” he said.
“All these animals can co-exist together on this small space and it’s a message to the Pakistani people to be more careful and take care of these animals and this natural treasure,” he added.