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Puppeteer Faizan Peerzada dies at 54

December 22, 2012

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LAHORE, Dec 21: Puppeteer, painter, fashion designer and a master of light and sound Faizan Peerzada died here on Friday. He was 54.

Peerzada, the face of Pakistan when it comes to holding international performing arts festivals in Lahore, is survived by a son and a daughter.

At around 3:40am, Peerzada complained of heaviness in chest and acidity to his twin brother Saadan. “My hear is sinking” were his last words before he fainted while being taken to hospital, Saadan said, adding doctors tried hard to save his life but he had gone.

News of Peerzada’s death spread like wildfire in the city and on social media. His friends, family members, colleagues and artistes were all in a state of shock.

Funeral prayer was held on the lawns of his Green Acres residence and he was buried in a graveyard not far from his house. Prominent among those present were Sain Zahoor, Munnu Bhai, Sajjad Gul, Faisal Rehman, I.A. Rehman, Sarwat Ali, Ali Azmat, Rafaqat Ali Khan, Asma Jehangir, Saleema Hashmi, Amjad Islam Amjad, Madeeha Gauhar, Shahid Mehmood Nadeem, Faryal Gohar, Mehreen Syed, Nayyer Ali Dada, Gonnga Mithu Sain, Sarmad Sehbai, Ajmal Qadri, Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi, Salahuddin Michu and Chand Khan Suraj Khan.

Qul will be held on Sunday at 3pm at his residence.

Faizan Peerzada was born on Oct 4, 1958 in Lahore. He graduated from the National College of Arts.

He created more than 2,500 puppets for an assortment of shows in 1979. He established the International Museum of Puppetry in Lahore and faced all kinds of bureaucratic, administrative and other hurdles in doing so. He trained a large number of puppeteers and held workshops and craft villages.

Faizan Peerzada was president of the International Festivals Division and UNIMA in Pakistan and a recipient of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for his contribution to the art of puppetry in the country.

He was the backbone of the Rafi Peer Theatre (RPT) Workshop. In the early 90s, he conceptualised international theatre festivals in Pakistan and in 1992 held the first international performing arts festival. He brought thousands of foreign artistes to Pakistan to perform at music, dance, puppetry and theatre festivals.

Faizan Peerzada organised over 1,000 different programmes for children and adults and worked with dedication for years designing programmes for children, including Child Art Festivals, Art Workshops on Child Development and educational projects for children.

‘Sim Sim Hamara’ was also a project of the RPT but it could not continue for various reasons.

A modern-day expressionistic painter, Peerzada held 45 solo exhibitions in various countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sri Lanka.

During his stay in the US, he won two awards in Washington and was selected to donate his paintings to the Kennedy Centre for an auction to benefit handicapped children.

Just before his death, he was working on the international dance festival scheduled to be held in February. In his youth, Faizan Peerzada was active in the fashion industry and used to design dresses. He introduced several folk artistes to the international scene.

Usman Peerzada said he had lost a brother but society had lost a great art activist.