LONDON: British Council is showcasing the creative and cultural side of five Pakistani cities at a ground-breaking exhibition here to promote the creative communities of Pakistan.
The exhibition, taking pace at the Council Spring Garden office, is called “Creative Cities in Pakistan” which focusses on five cities with thriving creative communities, that are rich in arts and crafts, as well as history and culture. It includes cultural and traditional artefacts from Multan, Peshawar, Gilgit/Hunza, Quetta and Hyderabad such as carpets, instruments, jewellery, shoes, music, film and television clips and more.
The launch event was hosted by Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Christopher Rodrigues, British Council Chair, Kamran Lashari, Director General of the Lahore Walled City Project, Rosemary Hilhorst, Country Director British Council Pakistan, Rachel Harris, Creative Producer, Festival Development at the Southbank Centre and Pakistan High Commission’s Political Secretary Dr Hassan Rabbani attended the event which saw a large turnout of Londoners.
Organisers explained that the exhibition is based on the Creative Cities in Pakistan research report which attempts to identify programmes that would help these ‘creative cities’ to become thriving economies. They said the Creative Cities in Pakistan research report in Pakistan deliberately moved beyond the major metropolises in Pakistan – Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore – to identify five second tier cities. Often overlooked, these five cities have rich historical, traditional and cultural roots – but traditional crafts and art forms are increasingly not seen as a viable option to provide a sustainable income stream, as a result, traditional skills are at risk.
Speaking to this correspondent, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the government and the creative sector in Pakistan are increasingly recognising the importance of the creative economy as a generator of jobs, wealth and cultural engagement. “As a result, these industries now form an integral part of Pakistan’s current economic revival. The growth in arts and cultural sector also provides excellent opportunities for the youth of the country in terms of employment, skills and avenues for entrepreneurship. We believe that the exhibition and the report will not only show the richness and diversity of the Pakistan’s creative industries but also shed light on the immense opportunities presented by this sector. This exhibition showcases the cultural and creative side of Pakistan.”
Kamran Lashari said that Pakistan has so much to offer to the world. He said that Pakistan, undoubtedly, is amongst the top ten most beautiful countries of this world but Pakistan lacks when it comes to marketing and packaging. He added: “This is a very good initiative undertaken by the British Council in projecting Pakistan’s culture in the UK. We need to improve the livelihood of local artisans by enhancing their skills and arranging a network of support systems, which can make their traditional skills sustainable.”
Rosemary Hilhorst, Country Director, British Council in Pakistan, said: “I believe that the arts and cultural sector not only has the potential to contribute to solving Pakistan’s social and economic challenges, it also presents itself as an opportunity to help improve its international image. The report is a starting point for the British Council to connect institutions and individuals from the UK and Pakistan to co-create cultural sustainability for the citizens and local creative communities of these cities through timely interventions and programmes.”
The exhibition will run until 26 May.-Web Desk