Exhibition & Symposium Arrival City

Exhibition & Symposium Foto: MMA

8th June 2019; 5:30pm - 9pm

Arts Commune

Miskeen Gali
off. Old Queen’s Road
Karachi

Heimat, the country or region where one was born or resides permanently.

“Heimat” is a German concept that doesn’t translate easily into other languages. Neither the English “home” or “home country” nor the Italian and Spanish “casa” or “patria” encompass the range of meaning of the German. They refer, rather to the fatherland in a patriotic sense. “Heim” (“the house in which one belongs”), on the other hand, does have a close equivalent in English: “home,” as in “my home is my castle” or “home is where the heart is.” But what about the place where we were born and where we “felt at home,” the place that shaped us? This is much more than our own home or house in which we have made ourselves “at home.” Heimat is something we carry within ourselves. It may even be the earlier Heimat of our parents or grandparents that we do not know first-hand, but only through customs and stories. This is how the German-speaking rapper Azad puts it, who was born in the Kurdish region of Iran and came to Germany as a refugee with his family – he now lives in Frankfurt am Main:

With an aching heart and tears on my cheeks
Forced by the problems to leave, make a fresh start
Sunrise in exile ever since the first year
Even though I barely got to see my heimat
It was always clear where my roots were


What about a “second” or “new” heimat? Where and how can people who have left their familiar environment settle and be “at home”?
A third of the world’s population is moving to the cities, sometimes across continents. They abandon their present place of residence in order to settle elsewhere – some temporarily, others permanently. The title of the exhibition Making Heimat, a bilingual coinage, introduces a new, active dimension into the discussion and asks: How is heimat “made”? This is a two-sided process that must be accomplished both by arrival country (down to the lowest level of the city district) and by the immigrants themselves who have to face up to conditions in their new heimat. We still have a long way to go before Germany becomes a country of immigration like United States, Canada or Australia. 

This is why, for the time being, we shall call it Germany, Arrival Country, as this is something we can rightly claim based on the unforeseen scale of current migration to Germany. 
Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country is based on the book Arrival City by Canadian Journalist Doug Saunders. In close collaboration with the author we have developed eight theses about Arrival Cities that form the basic structure of Making Heimat. Based on these we explore the question of what architectural and urban conditions need to exist in Arrival Cities for immigrants to be able to integrate successfully in Germany.  

 
Karachi Chapter

Seeking Home

The Afghan Narrative of Displacement, Identity and Integration
 
 
Is shehr mein ashian hai ‘anqa
Dil sakht yahan uljh raha hai
Pagri ki taleb hai ghar ke badle
Pagri mein makan uljh raha hai
 
There is no shelter in the city [Karachi]
The heart is in great turmoil
When our immediate concern is to preserve our dignity,
How will we manage to find a new home?
-Pagri (Honor) Jang, May 1948

Hundreds and thousands of people arrived in Karachi from worn torn Afghanistan in the 1980’s and have called Karachi their home ever since. Pakistan was deeply entrenched in the Afghan refugee crisis spanning almost four decades with Karachi housing almost 1.5 million registered refugees. There was no doubt that this was going to impact Karachi’s socio-political landscape forever, but the real question is/was, what about the experiences of the refugees themselves? After four decades, new generations of Afghans have called Karachi their home, most do not fit into the image of a “tattered Afghan refugee”, they have assimilated to the system and have become part of the city. According to many, Karachi and Pakistan in general has been the most gracious host to them. Most of them have spent their entire life in Pakistan, they are not given the status of a Pakistani, the systems in place such as the Prove of Registration card, keep failing them. Their ethnicity is frowned upon since the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar, many of them forced to go back or are being detained/arrested without charges. The complexities of Karachi as an immigrant city makes it a more complicated place to live, Karachi is burdened by its history and its geography, who really has the claim to it? Afghans now make a hefty percentage of the city (some data suggests 20% whereas others suggest around 25%, making afghans the second largest ethnic group in the city), making Karachi into even more of a contested territory. Seeking Home tries to understand these complexities through layers of history, mapping and storytelling. Stories from the refugees themselves, and this ever-changing idea of home and belonging.
 
What is home? It is special in ways others places are not, it’s a place of familiarity and security. It provides us with the ability to operate within the wider world, its unique and sacred. We carry a lot of our home with us, it’s our identity.
Seeking Home tries to understand the complexities of what is means to continuously change homes and identities. It aims to understand home through narratives, mapping and histories. Histories of war, of refuge and of belonging.

Partners

Goethe-Institut, Karachi
 
The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. They promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. They convey a comprehensive picture of Germany by providing information on Germany's cultural, social and political life. The institute offers language courses, organises cultural events and has a modern and well-equipped library.
 
Deutsches Architekturmuseum
 
The museum is located in Frankfurt. Housed in an 18th century building, the interior has been re-designed in 1984 as a set of “elemental Platonic buildings within elemental Platonic buildings. It houses a permanent exhibition entitled "From Ancient Huts to Skyscrapers" which displays the history of architectural development in Germany.
 
The museum organizes several temporary exhibitions every year, as well as conferences, symposia and lectures. It has a collection of 180,000 architectural drawings and 600 models, including works by modern and contemporary classics like Erich Mendelsohn, Mies van der Rohe, Archigram and Frank O. Gehry. It also includes a reference library with approximately 25,000 books and magazines.
 
Marvi Mazhar & Associates | Creative Initiatives
 
Marvi Mazhar & Associates is an independent architecture and design studio, nestled under the shade of a Pisonia tree in Karachi, Pakistan. The studio is guided by the principles of regional architecture and specializes in restoring historic buildings, managing conservation assessment studies, and conducting social research and documentation. Creative Initiatives (CI) is a sub-section of Marvi Mazhar & Associates: The focus of the CI is an initiative to curate ideas, to collaborate with shared knowledge, and actively participate in urban art initiatives, installations, and visual ethnographic dialogue.
 
 
Exhibition Opening: 8th June 2019, 5:30-9 pm
Symposium: 9th June 2019, 3-7 pm
Exhibition will contiune till 23rd June 2019


Exhibition and Symposium Foto: MMA
 

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