Art That Goes Pop

When there’s an event in town my diary is instantly full. Today, I made a last-minute booking for a free pop art workshop with Farah Visual Arts. Yes free. The event started at 10.30, I registered at 9ish (emphasising heavily on the ish). I rushed my morning routine, breakfast included, out of fear of turning up late. And, as predicted I arrived late. With an embarrassed smile, I quietly took a seat.

The workshop had already started with an introductory slideshow about Pop Art, the main artist’s Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the techniques and inspiration. There was a short group discussion about the importance of our heritage and how it shaped us. A majority of the attendees (myself included) were British with an ancestral lineage from across the globe. We were to use our identity as the inspiration behind the artwork, with a pop art twist. 

Scrambling through my phone, I looked up all the things that reminded me of my trips to Lahore. Aside from the food, colourful clothes and week-long weddings, truck art came to mind. However, I had no association with them, apart from seeing and hearing the jingle of the trucks from far distances. Always questioning how many people did it take to decorate that. Instead, I choose something more experiential. The arch of Lahore fort. My visits to Lahore fortress were exceptionally grand and a highlight for the overall vacation.

The table was creatively laid out with canvases, paints, pencils, markers, rulers, etc. Ready for us to get our hands dirty. I started off by drawing an outline of the arch and heavily painting the outside black. Once that was dried, I painted the centre of the arch in primary coloured stripes, with the help of a simple yet effective tool, masking tape. I began painting with the lightest colour, yellow and worked my way through to blue and finally red. Coating each hue with three extra layers to make the colours pop, perfectly concealing the white canvas. I was so into what I was doing, I kept losing track of the time. As did everyone else. I could’ve easily stayed there and painted the hours away.

This was my first time painting by hand in months, so the pressure for a digital artist was on. Oh, how I missed the Photoshop tools. Farah, however, was extremely encouraging, giving me the boost I needed. I cannot stress to you how important it is to learn from someone that positive and motivating. Throughout the session, Farah went around to every attendant helping and advising. Going the extra mile and more. She openly shared her experiences, tips and tricks. Farah’s a talented artist and an awesome teacher.

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The workshop was a part of The Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival, hosted by Halal Tourism Britain

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Workshop: Pop Art and Heritage and art by Farah Soobhan

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