This art festival, which was first introduced in the all boys college 10 years ago, has acted as a catalyst for other schools to introduce art competitions at an inter-school level. With 16 different categories including media, music and performing arts, this festival is still one of the largest school-level art festivals in Pakistan.
How did this event become so big?
Given the enormous variety of categories in the event, there is something for every O and A level student to participate in even if they aren’t art students. Categories include photography, poetry, literature and this year they’ve even introduced an architecture category. Another new addition this year will be the Monologue category, a segment of the Drama category, where a single student will be given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience as opposed to working with a team. This year’s monologue is from a Shakespearian play.
Workshops are included as part of the event so that the students walk away having learnt valuable skills
As part of the event, artists from across Lahore are called to hold workshops to help the students in whatever skill they’re exhibiting so that they can practise prior to their performance. In this way, students are given the opportunity to refine their art skills in a way that is long-lasting and they have the unique opportunity to work closely with successful artists from across the city.
The main objective is to make the night memorable and fun
The competition also includes socials on each night of the 3 day event so that the students can relax and enjoy in the midst of rehearsals. During these socials they can interact with other students from different schools and grades, faculty and artists. This year’s socials include a theatre night, music night and formal dinner. What’s interesting about these social events is that students themselves have the opportunity to perform at these socials if they wish to.
Breaking the taboo surrounding art in Pakistan
This competition is especially important in Pakistan because it was one of the first ones to attempt to break the taboo surrounding arts in the country. Students, particularly boys, are discouraged from pursing artist fields. The Aitchison College Head of Arts Department, Sara Ahmer, explains how when she started teaching Art at the college 10 years ago no one was even taking up the subject. However, since the introduction of this competition and many others that have come up in other schools since, she has seen an influx of boys choosing to take up art as a subject as well. In a country that doesn’t provide much exposure to its youth in artistic fields, Aitchison College Art Fest is doing an important and powerful thing.
Keep up to date with more news at ProperGaanda: Have we deviated from Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan?