WHO ARE WE
VMCTA is a not-for-profit project by V.M Trust for Education, Pakistan. VMCTA draws inspiration from Pakistan’s artistic traditions and cultural heritage. Our centre aims to help revive essential artistic skills and techniques, and to revitalize the relevance of traditional arts in contemporary Pakistan.
Established by a proud partnership with The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts (in London) VMCTA will ensure our traditional arts will flourish and be taught and practised to high standards.
Our mission is to revive the value of diminishing traditional arts and heritage of Pakistan and provide a platform to the local artists and crafts men to display their skill and potentially at a global level.
We are building grounds to promote Pakistani Traditional Art worldwide by strengthening the local artists. Our highly skilled tutors conduct thorough research about the traditional values of the country and transfer the techniques to the students. We are heading towards establishing a pool of highly skilled artists in Pakistan who would be an asset to the restoration works of the historical monuments and cultures which would attract tourism to the country, create an academia of trained tutors who would continue to disseminate knowledge to the younger generation and create employability for the local craftsmen by recognising their specialities.
The VM Centre for Traditional Arts (VMCTA) in Karachi aims to keep Pakistan’s traditional arts and cultural heritage alive and thriving. Inspired by arts and cultures from our past, we want to ensure our traditional arts flourish now and in the future.
The project aims to highlight softer image of Pakistan to the world, attract tourism and create employment opportunities for the local artists and craftsmen.
On courses at our centre, practising artists and expert masters teach essential artistic skills and techniques to high standards and our students learn how to make our traditional arts relevant and vital today.
HOW DO WE WORK
VMCTA, Karachi is operating from the Rangoonwala Community Centre who have kindly offered to use their facilities for the programme. The courses at VMCTA are taught by experts in traditional Islamic geometry, ceramics, textiles, woodworking, painting and manuscript illumination; students will learn how to use, and master traditional materials and methods and courses will be structured to suit all levels of skill and experience. The Centre will draw on Pakistani artistic traditions and cultural heritage, aiming to revive skills and techniques, revitalising the traditional arts relevance in contemporary Pakistan.
Initially, courses in Karachi are being taught by visiting tutors from The Prince’s Foundation School but, from the beginning, a local team of Pakistani tutors is aimed to be trained to lead the programme as it matures. Longer term, the Centre will offer year-long training for people wishing to develop their skills to higher levels.
OUR SUPPORTING PARTNERS
The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, London (PFSTA)
The PFSTA conducted extensive research in 2017 to produce a curriculum based on Pakistani traditional arts and heritage. A team comprising of expert artists with academic and research backgrounds travelled across Pakistan, met with key stakeholders, visited the most prestigious arts institutes of the country and then produced course contents for short term and long term courses based on geometry, illumination, biomorphic designs, woodwork, textile techniques and methods to produce natural pigments and colours.
VM Trust for Education, Karachi will be supported by the experienced visiting faculty from the PFSTA who are responsible to deliver the programme in Karachi and develop local faculty in future to establish a self-sustainable programme.
The Prince’s Foundation of Traditional Arts was founded in 2004 by HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. It developed from the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Programme (VITA) established at The Royal College of Art in 1984 by Professor Keith Critchlow. The pioneering postgraduate programme based on the practice and research of the traditional arts has expanded to include an Outreach Programme active in more than twenty countries across five continents; the Open Programme, extending the teaching to a wider community; and the Harmony Schools Programme, presenting an integrated view of the world to younger audiences.
ZVMG Rangoonwala Trust (ZVMRT)
ZVMRT has offered space and facilities to the VMCTA. There are four rooms, an office space, toilets and library space offered in kind by ZVMRT. In addition, they provide administrative and accountancy expertise to the VMCTA. ZVMRT has committed to providing facilities and expertise throughout for the VMCTA programme.
The Community Centre Karachi was established in November, 1971. The late Founder and Managing Trustee, Mr. M. A. Rangoonwala in his welcome address said that:
‘The establishment of this centre is the culmination of a long-cherished desire and I sincerely hope that this centre will be of some service to the people, especially those with limited means’.
Since 1971 the ZVMG Rangoonwala Community Centre has been serving humanity to its utmost. The community centre provides numerous facilities under one roof. It lodges in it: The Vocational Education Programme, VM Art Gallery, a Centrally Air-Conditioned Zuleikhabai Hall, Courtyard, Conference Room, VM Library and Study Centre, The Mother & Child Care Centre, Banubai Physiotherapy Centre, Development In Literacy (DIL), Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme and the Zonal Office of the Pakistan Women Lawyer’s Association (PAWLA).
Rangoonwala Foundation UK (RFUK)
RFUK has agreed to provided funding for the initial capital investment for the programme. The visiting faculty from The PFSTA are funded by the RFUK. This includes partially funding the trips to Pakistan from the UK and expenses related to coordinating the programme. RFUK has agreed to fund the programme till September 2020.
The Rangoonwala Foundation is a charitable endowment of its founder the late philanthropist, social worker, patron and industrialist Mohamed Aly Rangoonwala.
He was a prominent and influential business personality in South Asia and Europe. He firmly believed in free trade, fair competition and the responsibility of wealthy individuals to alleviate poverty and to raise the standard of living for those less fortunate.
The Foundation’s mission is to enable the empowerment of communities by engaging in social development initiatives directed at long-term sustainability and self-reliance. The Foundation works regardless of race, colour, creed and religion and aims to eradicate poverty amongst marginalised urban and rural communities. As well as supporting primary, secondary and higher education, a key strength of the Foundation lies in the establishment and support of Community Resource Centres for technical and vocational training.
The Prince of Wales, HRH announced the inception of the VMCTA at the Annual Master’s Degree Show at The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, London in July 2017. He stated
“And finally, I am very proud to be able to announce today a new partnership with the Rangoonwala Foundation. Together, we intend to establish a new school for traditional arts and crafts in Karachi, Pakistan, which will, I hope, make a vital contribution to the arts in Pakistan and, furthermore, will introduce a new generation to the timeless principles that have defined their heritage.”
VMCTA opened its door to the students on 23rd October 2017 offering short courses for two weeks. VMCTA initially offered 6 different workshops based on Geometry and Illumination. There were four (4) half day workshops for two and a half hours (2.5 hour) each and two full day workshops of seven (7) hours each. Each workshop could be attended by a maximum of 20 students and was conducted by one teacher and two support staff. The support staff were also fully trained PFSTA tutors with different specialisms than the course tutor.
As the programme progressed and the demand was generated. The team decided to offer different content to the students who would like to attend the same course again. This practice enhanced their skills.