Storytellers’ ode to River Jhelum: Workshop aims to ‘enhance creativity through writing and photography’

Srinagar: A five-day visual storytelling workshop,‘Jhelum Fables’ is being held at picturesque Roots houseboat situated on river Jhelum in Srinagar. The workshop aims to ‘enhance creativity’ among the youth through writing and photography.

The workshop is being conducted by Dr Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi, a noted journalist of Kashmiri origin who is presently working in Jaipur, and is also a recipient of the national award in photography conferred by I&B ministry, Government of India.

“The workshop is about observing, imagining and then writing about the photographs captured by the participants in the workshop. Apart from learning basics of photography and writing, the participants will be asked to make their own visual story with the help of two mediums – pen and camera, which we will be displayed on the last day of the workshop,” said Tabeenah Anjum.

“Imaginations is the soul of this workshop, the participants practised this art through their writings and photography, and presented there work through 50 photographs and many stories,” Tabeena Anjum said.

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The workshop is organised by Roots Learning group, a student club whose objective is to conduct short courses and workshops on a variety of categories, and is being run by Mahi Burza, a young entrepreneur, and the founder of the club.

“The idea was to establish a space where small workshops with a closed group can be held. The youth in Kashmir lack access and opportunities to art and culture in some sense. Our aim was to establish one such space. This is our first ever workshop and we chose visual storytelling by Tabeenah Anjum. This is just the beginning, we aim to conduct many such programs,” said Mahi Burza.

The visual stories conceived by each storyteller is ‘an Ode to the river’ Jhelum, also known as Vyeth in Kashmiri and Vitasta in Sanskrit.

Mahi, aims that in future many such events and workshops will be held to ensure that youth get a place to ‘express themselves in whatever form they want, be it photography, art, writing or theatre’.

“When I first saw this houseboat I thought it’s not my cup of tea because the 2014 floods had ruined it but as soon as the work started, this place brought in solitude and now it’s my floating classroom,” adds Mahi.

She further adds that the first group of students was self motivated and after seeing the response she is very happy with her initiative.

“My resource people would be initially from Kashmir, because no one can be a better role model for you than your own people,” adds Mahi.

Adam, a student who participated in the event says that it was an escape for him from the daily routine and he feels that “we are so overloaded by the conflict that we need such spaces where we can be ourselves”.

“The houseboat had green and yellow colors welcoming us into a new adventure, I have had the best time of my life at Roots and it had a great physiological impact on me. I would love to be a part of the next workshop,” he adds.


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