Art: Emelie Hryhoruk
Art: Emelie Hryhoruk

While we’ve all spent the last few days cursing and blaming Sindh, the national government and K-Electric for our misery, there are a few who realise the urgency of stepping up, and playing a role.

Amongst these are three artists hailing from Karachi; Shaheen Jaffrani, Numair Abbasi and Shanzay Subzwari who decided to get together and contribute to the flood relief for Karachi and its people.

On Saturday night, Numair who is a graduate of Indus Valley School of Art, spoke to two of his artist friends and alum of the same university, about donating some of their work for flood relief.

“Initially I thought I'll sell some work and donate that money for flood relief. Asked Shaheen and Shanzay if they have something ready to be donated for the cause too and they were more than willing. We got our work together and set up an Instagram page, Artists for Flood Relief and it just expanded from there. A lot of other artists offered their work too and we began to grow”, Numair told Images.

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A small project that began between three college friends turned into a proper fundraiser in a matter of hours when they put out an open call for artworks to be donate and other artists showed their willingness to join.

Interestingly, these artists aren’t only from Karachi or other cities of Pakistan but from India, London, Germany, Denmark and Qatar besides Pakistani diaspora abroad.

For those in the country, artworks are shipped to Numair and company while for those who want to donate their work from abroad, the option of sharing digital prints is also available.

Some of the participating artists are Irfan Hasan, Shezil Malik, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Wajeeha Abbasi, Rabia Akhter, Asma Javeri and Samreen Sultan. The list of artists, however, doesn’t end here. The list also includes works of professional and self-taught artists, students and children.

“One our second day, we got an inbox from a nine-year-old child who wants to donate her artwork for this cause,” mentioned Shanzay talking about the overwhelming response of the formal and informal artist community.

Many may think the artworks featured in the fundraiser represent traditional artists only, but the opportunity is open to photographs, illustrators, photo journalists and all sorts of creative people.

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For now, Artists for Flood Relief is working with three organisations; The Environmental, Smile Sunshine and Food for Thought - all of which are working on various relief efforts pertaining to floods. From rehabilitation of homes, to providing flood - the idea is all funds gathered be contributed to relief work needed post flood.

According to Shaheen, the idea has been inspired by Prints for Pandemic Relief, a fundraiser done for pandemic relief earlier this summer. Although similar, Artists for Flood Relief is not inviting artists particularly but is an open call to everyone and will be auctioning the original artworks once the campaign to sell prints ends.

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The beauty of an open call is that it gives everyone; an amateur 9-year-old and an acclaimed artist the same opportunity.

“When a range of work is displayed at one platform, everyone gets equal opportunity to show their work to the public. Who knows the amateur ones sell the most prints?” agreed Numair and Shaheen.

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The prints will be done on canson infinity, a paper that has archival life. They will all be standard 9 x 12 size and will be priced at Rs. 6000 each.

Artists for Flood Relief will also be publishing and sending prints to the international community from London making it easier for people around the globe to purchase prints and donate to the noble cause.

“Often artists and students may not have large funds ready to be donated, but donating artwork is essentially the same and a great exercise to play their part in helping communities."

"It’s so refreshing to see that artists from not only Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad but relatively smaller cities like Bahawalpur, Abbotabad and Makli have also gotten in touch and are eager to share their work,” Shaheen told Images.

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While the fundraiser is a beautiful example of the brilliant outcome of people coming together to help their own city; it’s also making art accessible for all.

“Many think that art is for the elite or only belongs to collectors and curators but this effort will not only make it accessible to the masses but also help use art for such a good cause,” Shaheen concluded.

If you’ve been looking for an interesting way to donate those suffering in Karachi, checkout their page and order a few prints away.