My last post focused on our work with Aga Khan University; a remarkable example of a highly values and mission driven organization navigating through very turbulent times in difficult parts of the world. In my initial trip last June and my recent visit this May, I had some time to tour the teaming city of Karachi (population 18 Million.) I filled my digital camera with lots of fascinating photos. Click here to view some of my photos.

Tapestry in KarachiI was especially struck by the vibrant and joyful colors displayed in clothing, artwork, interior decor, and even everyday items at the market like aprons and towels. The above photo is a wall hanging I purchased last year. The precise and detailed needlework took the artist who created it eight months of hard work. It hangs prominently in our dining room eliciting plenty of admiring comments.

The most fascinating and public exhibitions of vibrant and joyful artistry are the thousands of brightly painted trucks and buses filling the busy streets of Karachi. I did some research when I got home and found an interesting site on the painted trucks (Masterpieces to Go) where there’s a history and a gallery of some of the most elaborate trucks. There’s also a site with more painted trucks and some of the buses. Many of the photos on these two sites show trucks and buses much more decorated and over the top than I saw.

With last summer’s devastating floods, violence and terrorism, a fledgling new democracy, poverty, and a struggling economy, Pakistan is going through very difficult times. The cheerful works of art are outcroppings of indomitable human spirit shining through bleak times. Highlighting our brightest colors during our darkest hours is a lesson we can all take to heart.