LOMOPOLO Media was founded a decade ago by five passionate individuals with a shared love for art and theater. Since its inception, OLOMOPOLO Media has emerged as an interdisciplinary cultural and social enterprise, dedicated to the creation, promotion, advocacy, and training of performing arts and visual media. In doing so, it has solidified its role as a vital contributor to community development and a welcoming platform for diverse forms of expression. Over the years, OLOMOPOLO Media has successfully orchestrated more than a hundred events and projects annually, encompassing a wide range of activities, from theatrical and musical performances to engaging talk sessions and open mic nights.
Innovatively defined, OLOMOPOLO is a creative enterprise. Its ideology is simple: to bring together a community of people who share a common passion for art and aim to produce quality content without monetary goals.
“We are narratives with a cause,” says Kanwal Khoosat, the Executive Director and one of five founders of OLOMOPOLO. Khoosat’s dedication to her work is unwavering, which is reflected through OLOMOPOLO projects released over the years. For her, OLOMOPOLO was a passion project and her brainchild. Kanwal shared that the rather quirky name originated when she was finding an innovative, unhackable email address. Later, it was used as a fictitious name for her thesis project back in NCA. And so, when it came to naming her own company, she already had a name in mind.
Perhaps what makes OLOMOPOLO unique, besides its name, is the free spirit, quirkiness, and the spontaneity that the people associated with the company bring along with them. Presently, the organization, as quoted by Khoosat herself, “is surviving but thriving”. But maybe, this is not what some (or most) might have believed possible a decade ago when the company was conceived without a blueprint for its trajectory . Khoosat recalls that she remembers selling her car to pay her employees their overdue salaries. Some might think an unprofitable business unwise, but for its dedicated team members, the actual value lies beyond any monetary gain.
The structure of OLOMOPOLO Media consists of five different areas. The first focus is on production of films and theater. The team was involved with the promotional campaign design for Manto and then line production and promotional design for Kamli. In addition, every year, OLOMOPOLO aims to produce at least four productions that reflect their goals. Among their highly acclaimed plays are Mushk, Teesri Dhun, Pakistan’s first-ever documentary theater on transgender lives, Likhay Jo Khatt Tujhey, and Absolut Manto among others.
OLOMOPOLO Media also takes pride in hosting events year-round that celebrate and promote art and theater. Based on a fierce model, two to three theater plays are performed every weekend, including OLOMOPOLO’s original production as well as other plays. Khoosat reiterated that it is essential for them to maintain quality and her goal is for, “people to come with the same confidence to see our plays on weekends which they have when going to a good restaurant, knowing they will have their expectations met.”
OLOMOPOLO Media pla-ces a significant emphasis on curating a diverse range of festivals. This includes the organization of events like the WOW (Women of the World) festival. Additionally, the OLOMOPOLO team takes charge of coordinating various festivals, including the Europena Film Festival, AKS Film Festival (notably Pakistan’s first LGBT film festival), the 5 Films for Freedom Screenings, and the Relay Anti-War Film Screenings. They also host entertaining comedy nights, such as Sassti Shuh-rat, and feature groups like Auratnaak, an all-female identifying comedy ensemble. Moreover, they arrange open mic nights and create spaces for LGBTIQ solidarity circles. Cultural celebrations like Holi, Chinese New Year, Nouroz, and numerous other events have also been part of OLOMOPOLO’s extensive portfolio of activities.
In addition to their remarkable accomplishments, OLOMOPOLO Media has established a cultural safe space OLO, where a wide array of weekly events is meticulously curated. These events span from workshops focused on honing skills in the performing arts to captivating dramatic readings conducted by literature enthusiasts.
OLOMOPOLO also plays host to dynamic music performances featuring both seasoned musicians and emerging underground bands. Thought-provoking discussions and talk sessions on subjects like women‘s safety, child rights, and religious freedom are also regular features, fostering meaningful dialogues within the community. Furthermore, OLOMOPOLO Media is committed to nurturing young talent and regularly organizes film screenings.
They offer valuable workshops featuring respected and accomplished figures in the field, including directors, writers, and actors, providing aspiring artists with invaluable opportunities to learn from seasoned professionals.
Lastly, but by no means the least, OLOMOPOLO has introduced an engaging initiative known as OLO TATOLO, designed to ignite a passion for storytelling and the arts among children. This endeavor encompasses a variety of activities crafted to inspire youngsters in the realms of art and craft, music, and the enchanting world of storytelling. Additionally, an annual summer camp provides children with the opportunity to collaboratively create an original play in various languages. This experience not only nurtures their artistic interests but also unlocks their creative potential.
Khoosat expressed her belief in the importance of this initiative, especially in a digital age where children are often engrossed in technology, emphasizing the need to encourage exploration of creativity and the arts.
It is difficult to encapsulate the entirety of all the work done by OLOMOPOLO in the past decade and even more difficult to measure its impact. Through their projects they have not only showcased art but have also highlighted many social causes and pleas of unheard groups in society. Whether advocating for the rights of the khwajasira community or standing in solidarity with acid burn survivors, OLOMOPOLO’s artistry knows no bounds. Their latest ambitious endeavor, the creation of an immersive theater, stands as a testament to their ceaseless innovation.
When asked about their plan for the next decade, Khoosat emphasizes a commitment to action over empty promises. Her vision revolves around the creation of a community that not only appreciates art but lives and breathes it.
As OLOMOPOLO continues to break barriers, challenge norms, and spark meaningful dialogues, their journey remains an inspiration for all who believe in the transformative power of art. In the end, it’s not merely the story of a decade, but a saga of resilience, artistry, and a profound impact that has only just begun.