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Black Spring at the walled city of Lahore

Black Spring at the walled city of Lahore

A Public Art Project by Awami Art Collective (AAC)

S‘urkh gulaban dey mausam wich phulaan dey rang kaaley’ (Black Spring) is a public art project by Awami Art Collective (AAC); that Mohsin Shafi is a core member of. The project is taking place at Taxali Gate in the Walled City of Lahore, Pakistan. The project is Curated by Lavinia Fillipi and Amanda Masha Caminals as part of Project_16 (London). 


The installation is a web of lights that traverse the roofs of old city homes where once Basant (kite flying festival) used to take place. The lights which can be seen from rooftops make a web in the old city to remember Basant. The urban development projects taken up in Lahore have, and are increasingly changing the very character of Lahore at the expense of footpaths, trees, street vendors and cultural life of various neighborhoods. Forlornly, these urban development projects do not care for the city as a living organism with its ethos, culture, traditions, and heritage.

Saturday night marked the commemoration of Basant and locals were more than pleased with the reminder.


“It feels so good. I feel young again and those past years have come flying back when Basant was a day people so eagerly waited for,” said Afzal, a customer at a local hotel.

Madam Neeli Naz, whose house is one of the tallest buildings in the area with 114 steps and gives a full view of the Walled City, said Basant was an important heritage of “real Lahore” but now “the flowers of spring have turned black”.

Watch 12:27 minutes video documentation about the relationship created by members of the Awami Art Collective with the local residents who actively participated in the making of the work. The installation can be understood as a running commentary on the urban development projects affecting the city and its inhabitants.


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There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts.

John F. Kennedy