The Red Bull Canvas Cooler project, held for the first time in Lahore this month (it’s a regular on the international circuit), gave 12 up-and-coming young artists wings to express their creativity with. Their canvas: those small mini fridge/coolers that you see at restaurants and cafes etc. These 12 artists were given two weeks and the simple brief to go wild and paint their cooler in whichever way inspires them. The result was a burst of colours, streaks of rebellion, bizarre streams of consciousness and in one or two instances, mature minimalism. Pakistan’s has an extremely rich art history and it is great to see that the tradition continues to flourish in the hands of young artists.
Zain Naqvi curated the project and the 12 Red Bull coolers that had been reworked into pieces of art were displayed at Farhad Humayun’s Riots Studio in Lahore last weekend. Participating in the project werethe innovative minds of Jibran Shahid, Ayesha Sohail, Samya Arif, Babrus Khan, Raza Bukhari, Sanki King, Osama Khan, Sadqain, Shumyle Haider, Hassan Shah Gilani and S.M Raza. Each of the twelve artists featured in the unique art project had a distinct concept and interpretation behind their designs projected on the Red Bull coolers. While wings and bulls made the odd appearance here and there, there was no creative brief that restricted the artists to stick to corporate colours or theme; that is an unfortunate mistake that most brands in Pakistan make and it’s great that Red Bull actually kept the branding subtle.
It was art gone wild. Ayesha Sohail, for example, picked upon and played with everyday Urdu idioms. ShumayleHaider took inspiration from HabibJalib’s poem and used the strong lines addressed to artists of the nation, “zulmatpeapnafunnnavaar”, meaning don’t sacrifice your art for destruction. It’s better to look into beauty and art. The most popular name on the artists’ list would have to be SamyaArif (famous for the taxicab interior that featured in Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekendamongst other things) and her cooler evidently played upon themes of feminism and power. You could even spot some Japanese Anime amongst a whole lot of quirkiness.
“Now that the exhibition is over these Red Bull Canvas Coolers will rotate in cafes, offices, spas and various other public places,” Maria Mahesar, Head of Communications at Red Bull Pakistan, spoke to Something Haute.
The Red Bull Canvas Cooler project really was a ‘cooler’ way of branding than what we’re used to seeing in Pakistan. Pun intended.
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