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ISLAMABAD: A Colombian festival was inaugurated at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Wednesday by Colombian Ambassador Juan Alfredo Pinto Saavedra and Director General PNCA Jamal Shah.

The event included a photo exhibition titled ‘Amazing Amazon’ and a screening of ‘Gabo: The Magic of Reality’.

“In the vein of promoting, building and establishing peace, this Colombian week in Pakistan has various elements of our culture – from photographs of the grand Amazon to the literature marvel of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to our world-famous salsa dance. We share a common sensibility and we agree about the exchange of culture where Pakistan week should also be celebrated in Colombia”, the ambassador said.

The photo exhibition features 26 photographs by Nicolás Van Hemelryckthe of the Amazon. The artist collected the photographs during a five-month bike ride from the start of the Amazon River in the snowy mountains of the Andes to its delta in the Atlantic Ocean.

The exhibition aimed to represent the biodiversity of the country as well as its devotion towards the preservation of the environment.

The photos are accompanied by quotes from William Ospina’s ‘The Land of Cinnamon’. One caption reads: “A place in the forest where the river is double-hued, it has been assigned by the nameless gods to be a nameless tomb for the lovers.”

In spite of the blatant white environs of the gallery, Amazing Amazon is a peculiarly interactive experience, casting light on life in the Amazon and signifying an understanding of the symbolic beauty through literature.

The ambassador invited the guests to enjoy some Columbian coffee which he had brought to add to the experience.

After the photo exhibit, the first screening of Gabo: The Magic of Reality was held which is Justine Webster’s documentary on Gabriel Garcia Maquez, one of Latin America’s most influential writers.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s creative, political and personal evolution is chronicled through archival footage and interviews with various political leaders, writers and relatives.

The documentary follows his journey from growing up in a poverty and violence-driven Columbia to writing the masterpiece ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and winning the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The documentary also speculates that Marquez, the inventor of magical realism, was inspired by his childhood influences of a superstitious grandmother and a contrastingly pragmatic grandfather.

More than just a biography, the film is an influential tale trailing the intertwined threads of Gabriel Garcia’s life to expose the implausible power of human mind and spirit.

It is also a tribute to Columbia for its magnificently immense contribution to arts and literature throughout the years.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2017