Urban Sketchers Hyderabad: ‘Capturing the soul of the city through art’

As many as 268 sketch meetings have been organized in diverse locations, from historical landmarks to serene gardens to cozy cafes, inviting artists of all ages from across the city to immerse themselves in the creative process.

Hyderabad: A 45-year-old man, who had buried the artist inside him in pursuit of a corporate career, is probably not alone in feeling the void he does in terms of fulfillment. Yearning for a creative outlet, the private sector employee (who did not want to be named) has now found the perfect space for the kind of activity he had always tried to find thanks to Urban Sketchers Hyderabad.

“I seek to rediscover the world’s beauty through art, something easily overlooked in our daily routines,” said the man, who was part of a workshop last week conducted by Urban Sketchers Hyderabad, a non-profit organisation. The organisation holds meetings regularly in Hyderabad across different locations in order to help people let out their creative side through art.

As many as 286 sketch meetings have been organized in diverse locations, from historical landmarks to serene gardens to cozy cafes, inviting artists of all ages from across the city to immerse themselves in the creative process.

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Speaking to Siasat.com, Urban Sketchers enforcement officer, Zeeshan Ahmed said, “The Hyderabad chapter, under Ishak Ziaee and Faraz Farshorie, started with a small sketch meet where initially only five to seven people attended. However, as word spread and more artists discovered us, our community expanded from a handful to a diverse group of twenty-five members spanning ages 7 to 60.”

Additionally, he described the activity as an attempt to ‘capture’ the soul of Hyderabad through art. He mentioned participants are encouraged to bring their own stationery, and that there’s a strong emphasis on sketching without inhibition, allowing creativity to flow freely without any hesitation.

“Skill level is not a barrier to participation; one doesn’t need to be a professional artist to join the group. The activity provides space for individuals to unwind, socialize, and engage in creative processes regardless of their level of expertise,” explained Zeeshan. 

Echoing similar sentiments as corporate employee, other participants at an Urban Sketchers meet at Cafe 21 shared their unique experiences and insights as well. An undergraduate student who has been attending the gatherings for over a month said, “I find peace here; meeting new people with the same interests as me is rare; I have made friends who truly understand me and know the real me.”

Outlining the interiors of a cafe stay at home, a home maker said, “It provides me clarity. I have time to think and improve my art; I am not the best, but I am learning, and I feel good about myself that I am doing something different from my routine. Art feels like therapy.”

The home maker, who was there with her 12-year-old child also said, “I don’t want my child to just use social media and scroll reels; I want him to experience and capture these memories, which are beyond screens.” 

Art as a ‘therapeutic’ process?

A counseling psychologist and lecturer, Ms Shravya, emphasized the importance of self-expression, particularly in our hyper-stimulated society. She said, “The problem with our regular lives is that we are always performing; there is a part of an identity that we can’t show to everyone; acting as society wants us to be, and that’s what most of us are expected to do; we can’t be our authentic selves; we can only be some version that is highly productive and driven, and it leaves very little room for selves, so activities as such give a safe space to be ourselves.”

In today’s increasingly isolated society, Mrs. Shravya observed that communities like Urban Sketchers in Hyderabad provide struggling artists with a sense of belonging and connection. The shared experience of creating art in a supportive environment fosters relaxation and eases self-doubt. She stressed the significance of staying connected to others, as socialization and exploration are vital for mental well-being.

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