Pakistan-Australia bus art exhibit hits the road

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): The Australian High Commission has supported an exhibition of two public buses showcasing artworks with Australian and Pakistani images by Pakistani-Australian artists Imran Ahmad and Fatima Saeed in collaboration with local emerging artists and students.

The exhibition aims to cultivate the cultural connections between Australia and Pakistan as well as encourage dialogue and new ways of thinking about public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

Admiring Pakistan’s beautiful tradition of decorating vehicles, the Australian High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw highlighted that while Australia and Pakistan are both diverse countries, they share many common links.

“Our two countries have much in common — from our Commonwealth heritage and similar climates to our sporting and strong people-to-people links. More than 80,000 people of Pakistani origin call Australia home.”

Around 100 students, including students of art and design from prominent educational institutes of Pakistan, joined the artists in a series of workshops to paint the buses held at Saeed Akhtar Studio Lahore and Lok Virsa Islamabad.

The buses will travel across Pakistan for the residents, commuters and workers to experience the art on wheels throughout the year.

“We are excited that this project has given us the opportunity to create an accessible cross-country exhibition that promotes creative ways of connecting people through art during the pandemic,” High Commissioner Dr Shaw added.

The visual artist Fatima Saeed said, “Through this project, Imran and I have been able to celebrate uniqueness and similarities of both the countries we call home. The diversity and inclusiveness that we experienced while living and travelling in Australia left an indelible mark. As much as we feel at home in Pakistan, the feeling of homesickness for Australia never really goes away. This past year has taught us to celebrate all the good things in our lives and share it with as many people as we can.”

Artist and curator Imran Ahmad shared, “This was a very challenging project because of the coronavirus lockdowns. But the idea of creating an inspiring artwork for the roads of Pakistan kept us going. I thank my amazing team, the diverse group of students and the talented artists who participated in this project during these challenging times.”

Pakistani-Australian artists Imran Ahmad and Fatima Saeed have studied at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and exhibited their acclaimed works across Pakistan and Australia.

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