Why We Need More Open Mics In Pakistan

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In a place like Pakistan, there is an outpour of creativity; yet, we lack spaces that allow us to express those talents fully. A space for shape-shifting, open dialogue can be understood as a foundation for progressive thinking, where the arts come alive. In a culture that is so closely tied to craftsmanship, we sometimes tend to forget that our culture does not rule our expression, and creativity can be taken out of context and expressed freely. So much talent is left untapped, usually because of the absence of performance spaces. We need vicinities where we can speak our mind, perform and express ourselves in a safe environment, free of any judgment – that’s where the concept of an open mic comes in.

Other than the more commercial, yet very significant, places like T2F and ThotSpot, people have opened their homes for poets, musicians and performers to gather and explore their talent. There is a creative spark amongst the youth around us who need the opportunity and platform to do what they love, and feel welcome while doing it.

One such example is, Mahnoor Mahar and Mohammad Kunwar, who have created a community driven backyard jamboree, by the name of Turmoils of a Tripper. Like most creatives, the Turmoils team saw the need for open mics in Pakistan. By providing a platform as such, we can see the talent in our cities, and create spaces for them to network with other likeminded people. This allows for a sense of community building, where people share their ideas in whatever shape or form. Open mics are safe spaces which encourage open dialogues and discussions – particularly in a place where we are surrounded by taboos, silencing and censorship.

It is human nature to want to express yourself, however, the ability to do so is often hindered by a sense of stigma and judgment. We need spaces to express our creative selves – as food for our souls. This allows others to support community talent and feel inspired and motivated by various voices. There are very few opportunities for artists to share their work and feel appreciated, and open mics provide a homely, low pressure and friendly environment where everyone is welcome. They help break away from a one dimensional mind set, and let you see the world from new perspectives. Even as an audience member, open mics are inviting and inspiring as they let you know you are not alone.

So whenever you feel like you need to do something about your creative burst, search for an open mic, or just start one in your backyard and people will be there!

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