A month late, we celebrated Pakistan’s Independence in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks to Zanbeel Art, and the organizers of the celebration, there was a booth for children’s art activities. Kristeen, Azeem and I shared art with kids, encouraging and facilitating drawing and creativity along with Dario Mellado and the art project that he was sharing. It was such a joy to see kids walk up and participate in several activities, all for free. Some kids grabbed a marker and just zoned in on their creativity, leaving everything else behind. Others needed a little guidance before they were convinced that they too could draw.
There’s something really beautiful about working with kids and creating art together. So often, as adults we live in fear of failing or not being good enough, and so to see kids draw freely and express their rich thoughts and imaginations is an excellent reminder of how it could be. One little girl, probably not even 3 years old, came up and sat at the table. I handed her an orange marker, and she started “drawing” with it, without removing the cap. She did this for about a minute, before I gently removed the cap and slipped the marker back into her little fingers. She spent the next ten minutes drawing curved lines with such focus and dedication.
Other children drew what they love about Pakistan, from flags, to fruit and clothes. Kids drew rocket ships, worms eating snacks, sunshine and all kinds of things that flowed freely from their rich minds. One little boy asked if he could draw Bangladeshi culture, and it really made me happy to say yes and encourage him to draw anything he wanted. In the end we had rolls of paper full of art, after an exhausting, but rewarding day.
So often our cultural celebrations do not include hands on creative activities or art, and yet when given the opportunity, people of all ages enjoy creating art, or connecting to pieces that show them another point of view. All it takes is a little space, and a chance to share.
Some photos from the parade that preceded the event.