ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels and Nomad Art Gallery held a two-day craft bazaar showcasing a specially curated collection of crafts from across the country.
Dedicated to empowering women and communities through indigenous crafts, the event was well received by a diverse audience of foreigners and Pakistanis alike.
In addition to the handiwork of artisans and craftspeople, two documentaries by Nageen Hyat, Director of Nomad Art Gallery, on Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and discriminatory laws in South Asia were screened.
Nageen Hyat said: “I would like to thank the management of the Serena Hotels. We work together as collaborators, we support each other’s work and we are there for each other as we work for the empowerment of communities, of women, of youth and of entrepreneurs. Pakistan has such a rich cultural heritage that it is a shame to not see all of that in its glory.”
She added: “For me, personally, it has been an amazing journey for the past 39 years. Those years have taught me a lot; crafts and art and culture should be shared all over the world because sometimes we get bad press and I don’t think that is fair as good and bad happens everywhere.”
Frederico Silva, the ambassador of Portugal, inaugurated the event, saying: “I have the honour to preside here today. This exhibition is much more than an exhibition – it is life, it is people and it is the country in its beauty and authenticity. When we arrive in a country, we search for windows to understand. You need to travel everywhere in it, to try to talk with everybody and to try to understand, to be a listener. We have a lot of questions and the best way to get answers is through the culture, the heart, the creations. When you see Pakistan, an immense crossroad of civilizations, peoples, cultures, more than 4,000 years of interactions of all kinds, it is through the heart and the creations that we see here that you can begin to understand a
He added: “I would like to thank all the creators, the craftspeople, that are here. I was introduced to some of them. They have the noble task of providing windows into the heart of Pakistan. I hope this exhibition is seen by a lot of people. If there is risk in this exhibition – and it is a big risk – it is to die of an overdose of beauty.”
Featuring textiles from Sindh, gorgeous fabrics from Kashmir and stunning Kalasha embroideries, the exhibition was an opportunity to see the wide array of styles, motifs and embroidery patterns in South Asian scarves and shawls, from the ajraks of Sindh to the heavily embellished pieces that are part of trousseaus in Swat.
Representing the rich cultural heritage and unique artistic craftsmanship, many stalls brought modern twists and uses to age-old crafts, like totes, home accessories, crockery and even toys. Handmade toys by Granmani particularly attracted visitors with their bright colours and imaginative characters.
Both documentaries were selected to inspire thought and discourse. The film “Androon Lahore” delved into the history of Lahore capturing the essence of Lahore’s walled city, revealing its historical richness and the lives of its inhabitants both before and after its restoration.
“Posheeda Qadam” explored violence against women and youth as well as discriminatory laws in South Asia, including the Law of Evidence and the Hudood Ordinance.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2023