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LAHORE: The citizens took keen interest in an exhibition of art installations, titled Sheherezade, and music performances along Wazir Khan Mosque at Delhi Gate.

As a part of two-day event, Sheherezade: The Walled City Anthology, the streets of the Walled City are being lit by a series of art installations besides performances are being held.

Sheherezade is an urban intervention created through the collaboration among Numaish Karachi-Lahore, the British Council in Pakistan, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and MadLab (UK). It brings together architects, artists, computer scientists, craftspeople and designers who worked together on installations spread across the Walled City.

Creations by these individuals borrow themes from the material, motifs, and history of the Walled City through conversation and digital installations. Sheherezade takes inspiration from the Walled City to draw people ‘born of the city’ into the historical space to rediscover the old and the new aspects of Lahore life.

British Council Deputy Director James Hampson termed Sheherezade a celebration of the rich culture and historical identity of the country by bringing it to the communities to engage, interact and appreciate. He said they had invited 35 experts and institutions from the UK to visit Pakistan since 2016 and they hoped to develop social, economic and cultural assets of this amazing country.

“There is immense potential for skills development of the local industry, leading to economic prosperity for millions of Pakistanis,” he added.

WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said the authority was taking measures to promote culture and tourism in the country.

“This exhibition is being held to promote culture of the country as the artists could play a vital role in the welfare of society.”

He said the WCLA would continue arranging exhibitions about the old and the new aspects of city life to rediscover the historical places and they should never forget their values and rich heritage.

Numaish Karachi member Saima Zaidi said as student of National College of Arts (NCA), her friends and she herself had visited Wazir Khan Mosque several times and found it magical.

She added that doing any project at Wazir Khan Mosque and rediscovering a part of the amazing culture of the city was an unbelievable experience.

“The people of Androon Shehr are so hospitable, opening their doors to us and co-creating the installations with us. They have also shared so many of their stories and this event, Sheherezade, is really a tribute to them,” she added.

Another member, Umar Hameed, said a number of architects, artists, computer scientists, craftsmen, designers, and digital innovators and interdisciplinary were displaying their work to the public that was not accessible to the public earlier. He said they had displayed different installations in the exhibition, including ‘Disruption as Rapture’ by Shazia Sikandar. It is a 10-minute film, an 18th century manuscript of Gulshan-i-Ishq (Garden of Love) written in 1657-1658 by Nusrati, court poet to Sultan Ali Khan Adil Shah-II of Bijapur. The poem is a tale of connection, separation, longing and the final union of lover told through the iconography of lush gardens and magical beings.

Another installation, Jharoka by Umar Hameed, Raza Zahid and Saima Zaidi shows the narrow streets of the Walled City of Lahore and how to negotiate the close proximity of public and private spaces. Overflow by Noor Ali Chaghani is an installation having handmade miniature terracotta bricks used to create wavelike sculpture around the drains in the Wazir Khan Chowk and others were displayed in the exhibition.

Mr Chaghani said the artists had put their soul into the work and responded so well to the site and Numaish Karachi team was very grateful to Lahore, MadLab UK, the WCLA and the British Council in Pakistan for the collaboration.

He said the event was aimed at connecting the local knowledge with international expertise to augment understanding and interaction with Pakistan’s tangible and intangible heritage. The event would continue today (Sunday).

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2019

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