We met Nurayah Sheikh Nabi at the Indus Valley School. The school and Nusserwanjee Building are part of Karachi‘s architectural heritage which undertook a unique relocation: it was dismantled from its original site in Kharadar, stone by stone and then reconstructed at the IVS Campus in Clifton, Karachi.
Indus Valley School
Entrance door to Indus Valley School
Artwork by Zahid Mayo
The printmaker by profession and artist consciously engages in child related and community-building projects which are art-based and interactive with the city. I AM KARACHI is a project where citizens and civil society organizations of Karachi initiated a city-wide movement. It collectively rebuilds the diverse social and cultural fabric of the city by providing a platform to promoting socio-cultural activities and campaigns as vehicles for peace building through arts, culture, sports and dialogue. Nurayah took it by its word and issued activism to encourage and empower her female students.
Nurayah and one of her artworks
Bridging old traditions with contemporary art, promoting craftsmanship and the indigenous art coming out of Pakistan is an issue she features within her own artistic work. The amalgamation of the traditional with the contemporary seems to play a constant role in the mutual understand of art in Pakistan. Sheikh emphasizes this understanding in her own teaching practice. It is important that art students do not surge into Western or other value systems, at least not before they gain strength out of their own traditional value systems. A basis that lays the foundation when deciding to become an artist.
Once a month Nurayah opens her class to the very little ones, she believes that, “It can’t be too early to confront them with the creativity art and culture offers”. We were lucky to be there at the right time and follow a lively, excited but still attentive bunch of kids.