‘You may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.’ These iconic lines from John Lennon’s Imagine have been sung by millions across the globe, striking a chord with generation after generation including the millennials, who dream of a world without conflict.
The unrealistic success of Lennon’s Imagine has showed how art, whether in the form of music, poetry, writing or drama, can try and bring people together. With this conviction in mind, an Indian theatre artist from Hyderabad has spent years devoted to the idea of a ‘world without borders.’
Akram Feroze’s experiment began in 2011 and in the last six years, he has seen a lot. But that makes for another story. In this one, we are going to talk about his most ambitious project so far — The Great African Caravan.
What is the GAC?
The Great African Caravan (GAC) was launched with a dream of creating a borderless world, where people, ideas and art could travel freely. It is a collaborative effort of eight artists from India, Kosovo, Germany, Switzerland and England, who will undertake a 200-day road trip across the African continent, covering 12 countries in 2018.
“I was working on the concept before I was imprisoned in 2015 at the India-Pakistan border for trying to do experimental theatre at the borders, and all of this was building up. I was trying to find a way that could connect people,” said Akram, speaking about where the idea came from.
We’re sure this question crossed your mind. Why Africa? Why not India or any other country?
Helene Hasler, a 22-year-old German artist associated with GAC, explained, “Africa is globally the most marginalised as well as the least known continent, though it has an immense variety of cultures, landscapes, languages, people, and histories. Travelling through at least some of the African countries and connecting with some of these cultures will be a huge opportunity for the team to learn and to communicate this to the world.”
Seems like a good idea. And not to forget, an adventurous one too!
The Big Question: Can Art Really Bring About World Peace?
Let’s be honest — with so many negative reports coming out from everywhere, and the number of terror attacks in every nation, it seems hard for people to ‘imagine’ that art can bring peace in the world. So, is it really worth giving a shot?
According to Delhi-based painter Shikhant Sablania, “Most of the conflicts that occur or exist around us are due to lack of communication or ill-informed decision making, and the only way to reduce that is to build a communication channel. And that’s where art comes in — it gives people on both sides of the argument a new vision, a fresh approach.”
“Dialogue, forum theatre, and movies, including all our thoughts of a borderless world, will show how peace will speak for itself. There are all those themes that are unspeakable, and we will collect them all together, and stop people (from doing) what they’ve been doing until now,” adds 24-year-old Yilka Lota, a theatre artist from Kosovo.
Well, looking at the enthusiasm and confidence of these young artists, we believe and hope that they will achieve great success in their initiative.
To learn more about GAC, check them out on Facebook here. And if you wish to show your support towards their cause, share this post and let more people know about it.
Note: All the artists quoted in this story are part of the GAC team of artists, who will be travelling to Africa.
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