IMTISAL ZAFAR: THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND REVAMPING ART & E-MUSIC
Authored By Rajaa Nadeem
As a LUMS graduate who started working part time straight after A-Levels with an event management company where he grasped the ‘tricks of trade,’ Zafar stands as the CEO of Verve Events & PR- the founding syndicate.
“Advances in technology and the advent of social media have also revolutionised the industry completely,” he says when questioned about the evolution of the business.
What distinguishes their company from competitors, rendering Verve as one of the most sought after companies in the market is “creating ambiances and event settings that enhance the experience of the attendee to another level,” coupled with the networking with the crème de la crème of the country. “Our spanking guest list is something that we also pride ourselves in and we are sought after for PR for events because of this reason,” he adds.
To manage an organisation such as Verve, the young mastermind advises, one must require “high tolerance of stress, the ability to work under pressure and being creative.” Taking a saunter in his success, we were told about their private parties which overnight catapulted them into the limelight from the very beginning, being termed the ‘new kids on the block’.
Over the years Verve worked with several international brands such as Dune London, Hardees, Yogen Fruz, Bang & Olufsen, PF Changs, Burger King to name just a few. The career highlight for Verve Events is cricket’s comeback event after a decade, the PSL Closing ceremony in 2017 at the Gaddafi stadium for an audience of 35,000 people.
The event was broadcasted globally and earned Verve Events a lot of critical acclaim across the board. Verve events is also the head of committee for Special Olympics in Islamabad and we organise the annual SOP Islamabad ball there.
Ensuing Verve, the fame and experience gave rise to two more passion projects.
With his latest inception of “The Pakistan Art Forum,” the world of art witnessed the beginning of a new era; as the largest digital platform of its kind in Pakistan, PAK acquaints emerging artists with potential customers.
“The aspiration of making this website global is to give Pakistani artists international exposure and give people from outside the country access to Pakistani art,” informs the Lahori, Imtisal Zafar, who transfigured a mere Facebook ‘passion project’ into a full-fledged website.
When asked about the moment of realisation to create such a platform, Zafar explained how it was “established in 2014, solely for the love and appreciation for Pakistani art and artists. It was started as a way for people to share their love of art and has since then grown exponentially to become the country’s leading digital platform for all the galleries, curators, artists and art enthusiasts.”
Defying all norms, he assured that the project does not only highlight cultural pieces. Instead, “the young generation of artists is pushing the envelope with their art… getting inspired by their western idols and appropriating them in their own way to create unique and exciting works,” conferring progressive liberalisation onto the youth.
The forum aims to extract promising and hidden talent granting them “the right exposure, mentorship and guidance” all the while offering buyers diverse price ranges “starting as low as Rs.20,000.”
PAF organises its annual PAF Collectors’ Soiree, which has quickly become the most sought after event for art collectors across the country. “In addition,” he says, “we now have our global sales website and are launching the PAF gallery in march as well, which will be our first gallery space in the country.”
Zafar also notably lends readers a gush of air into sincerity for his work: “The feeling you get when someone finds an artwork that they absolutely love and you were the source of it, is absolutely amazing. I’m happy that I have been able to bring the reputation and credibility that I have gathered over the years via Verve, into the art world as well and that has positioned PAF as a serious art platform very quickly.”
Amongst his grandeur works, WIRED does not remain unnoticed. Alluding to his travelling interests withal, “My passion project, WIRED is a prime example of something that was initiated because I drew inspiration from circuit parties all over the world and started it in Pakistan,” states Zafar describing his creation of a music festival that gives a platform to underground electronic music genre in Pakistan. He explains, “It focuses on house music particularly and in addition to promoting local talent has brought down several DJs from around the world in its 4 year history.”
With events like these, there is always a threat of religious labels trying to thwart it. However, the stars align in favour of Zafar.“Wired has not had to face a lot of such trouble. And one of the main reasons for that is, that we keep the promotion of our event very hush hush. This also ensures an excellent crowd every time at the event,” he relates.
One may muse over how its existence came about when the other two projects and WIRED are poles apart, upon which he recounts some of his personal life: “WIRED has come about primarily because of my love for music. I have been into music from a very young age and it was only a matter of time that I started a platform that was dedicated to the music I love the most. I would collect music and earmark artists on my travels that I loved and bring that music back to my friends in Pakistan. We would have small private parties where we would just enjoy the music. From there it slowly started becoming a proper event in 2015 and has since then generated a cult-like following and is now the longest running electronic music event of the country.”
WIRED has brought down several DJs from Brazil, Europe, USA and also was the first electronic music festival to introduce the concept of live singers and dancers at our events. How? The founding backbone has a story to tell.
“When Wired started throwing its events, it caused quite a stir in the market. Primarily because of its music. The sound that we have at the event is unlike anything that the local market had heard before at the time. It is a genre of house music called Circuit House, which most of the local DJs detested. Wired from the very get go ‘dared’ to be different and has its own personality, which didn’t sit well with some of the people. However, now, the regular guests absolutely LOVE the music and always have a memorable experience.”
In spite of event management being the fifth most stressful job in the world as per research, the young businessman’s fervent “persistence, patience and nerves of steel” have had him emerge triumphant.