Concept for this project is driven by the annual cultural event, Basant (a famous kite festival that takes place in late January or early February marking the start of spring and is celebrated by people of all faiths in Pakistan). It is celebrated with much gusto and has a distinctive feature. There is a long established tradition of flying kites and holding fairs. This controversial/ secular celebration is also used by many to show their aggressive prowess. Children fly kites to mark the auspicious occasion by holding competitions. The sky is filled with colorful kites of various shapes and sizes. For most, it is a way of life.
Pakistani areas that border Afghanistan remain fragile and risky for children to come out and enjoy any sort of outdoor activity. Amnesty International invited drone strike victims and their family members from Pakistan to Washington, DC (in 2013) to talk about their lived experience. One boy mentioned how he now prefers cloudy days because drones don’t fly on those days. Common local kites are made of thin paper and wooden sticks that can tear or become weak in misty weather. I am creating kite kits that will showcase the beauty and complexity of this practice and will trigger dialogue in US and afar about how politics is affecting their daily life. Providing children with plastic kites will hopefully allow them to enjoy this activity even on cloudy days and reclaim their space.
Images coming soon!