Written by: Tanya Khan
Tanya is a Plan9 fellow. She is currently enrolled in A’ Levels at LGS Paragon. She speaks 4
languages and is a big Deadpool fan.
We live in a country where pursuing performing arts is frowned upon. Even today, artists tirelessly struggle every day just to make a living. Therein comes Rearts – a technologically progressive artist representation company that assists aspiring artists in getting the recognition that they deserve to make a sustainable career and provides them with a platform to showcase their art to the right audience. The company is a breath of fresh air when compared to the traditional approach of using agents. Described by the managing director as “A hybrid of LinkdIn, Myspace and Foodpanda”, Rearts is a creating a curated list of artists and helps in developing their profiles and portfolios, further aiding them in managing their engagements; the company then acts as a third party to facilitate the booking of these artists.
This ingenious idea to target a space that is majorly overlooked, was initiated by CEO Najam Ul Assar who brought on board with him current managing director, Ahmad Butt and CFO, Khubaib Iftikhar to work on the project to facilitate struggling artists in Pakistan. They pitched the idea to Plan9 and became a part of the 11th cohort of startups at the technology incubator.
But what makes Rearts so different? Why choose Rearts over an agent? The answer may not be an obvious one. Considering they are a team with engineering backgrounds, one would falsely assume that they cannot possibly have enough knowledge of the art industry – but their strength lies in their passion for arts and the experience that the team has in the arts industry. The CEO, Najam, was the arts consultant for the British Council while the Creative Director, Azeem Hamid, is the chairman of Independent Theatre Pakistan (the largest theatre company in Pakistan). The managing director, Ahmed Butt, is a seasoned musician himself who has been playing in the underground and with industry professionals in both Pakistan and abroad. Having been a part of the industry, the creators feel strongly about it, making them familiar with the struggles an artist has to go through to be recognized and make their mark in a space that has very little society approval. Their vision is to help people with passion akin to theirs by identifying the flaws in the arts ecosystem and help it thrive by fixing them.
The Rearts website allows artists to create accounts. These accounts are regularly updated with CVs by the Rearts team which can be accessed by those interested in booking them; the entire booking process is arranged by the company itself. An interesting feature of Rearts is that they provide legal aid to the artists they are working with; the protection of the rights of an artist is not something you see very often. They provide media solutions at the artists event plus PR facilities and data archiving which is a very essential feature as it stores the artists data on the Rearts server, making it easier for companies/organisations to view their work. Rearts are also creating a community comprising of various artists which would create a mentorship program for aspiring artists to get help from senior ones.
With annual events providing platforms for artists to showcase themselves, Rearts are all set to facilitate growth in the industry. Its flagship event ‘Aghaaz’ is based on promoting diversity in musicians, it creates a dynamic platform for lesser known artists to gain recognition. Rang-e-Kainat, a contemporary Kathak perfomance choreographed by Bina Jawwad with Harsukh musicians and dancers, was a hugely successful event organised by them recently. Furthermore, they have been involved in the prestigious Lahore Biennale 2018, the preservation and restoration of art and historical figures in Pakistan as well as the introduction of international franchise Failure Nights in Pakistan. They’ve also supplied artists for Lahore Eat and the US Consulate General plus Ek Shaam Mousiqi Kay Naam by the media house Propergaanda and most notably, Abida Parveen at the Women in Business Conference 2018.
An inefficient and flawed system which was out of touch with developments in the world has been reimagined by Rearts. The creators call themselves the pioneers of artist representation who have brought the system to a level compatible with the modern age of technology. They only hope to grow more in the future and become an international company which facilitates the exchange of artists between Pakistan and the world, organises art festivals as a medium for struggling artists and most importantly have all kinds of hard working, passionate artists become a part of their company.