Culture, Art and Architecture of the
Marginalized and the Poor
It has often been said that the fundamental reason of our TODAY is our YESTERDAY; and unless we confront our yesterday, our TOMORROW will be the same, if not worse. What we have today is a society split into murderous factions; an interpretation of beliefs which divides rather than unites; an education which engenders parrots rather than thinking humans; an economy that brings forth snarling competing animals rather than humans living in cooperation; a policy that is fast degenerating into an acceptance of the autocratic dictates trampling over rights; a progress that is measured in the numbers of superrich rather than the wellbeing of all; a social inequity that juxtaposes starvation with gluttony, and a culture that is confused, devoid of tolerance and patience, adrift like a ship without moorings. Our cultural expressions, art and architecture, having lost self-confidence, seek approbation only from the West and for that either mindlessly ape the Western trends or cater to their esoteric view of the East. This is our present state and that calls out for change.
“In a structured society there will be a group or class that dominants and rules over the rest… periods in which the ruling class is firmly in power, when its ideology is clear and strong, when the social structure decreed by it is firm, and, thus, when its culture permeates society, its literature, art and architecture appear to have a style admired by art critics and historians for its clarity of expression and honesty of thought. And, of course, the reverse is also true.”
The dominant culture in Pakistan is suspended in a comatose state between misunderstood modernization and nostalgic yearning for the middle ages. It is reflected in the confused state of culture, art and architecture in the country, not to mention the tension ridden society with swift resort to violence at the slightest provocation. Clearly the society lives on edge. The vulnerable sectors of the society, children, women, minorities, the handicapped, and the poor, are under perpetual threat. In a country starved of energy, huge glass-faced structures are built a la Dubai and imitations of paintings of the Renaissance masters adorn the houses of the nouveau riche. The ruling esthetic ethos is simply confused.
Alongside there is, nevertheless, a minor stream of caring and tolerant people, a line of thought that engenders buildings that respect their physical and cultural context and an art that reflects the joy and challenges of the new century. There are other streams also that survive alongside the dominant culture, and sometimes in conflict with it. These belong to the marginalized ethnic groups, the minority religious sects, the non-Muslims, the handicapped, and the poor. Looking to revitalize our arts and culture it is necessary to broaden the mainstream, enrich it and facilitate it to develop a direction and a meaning which can be truly rooted in our traditions and our people. Culture, art and architecture thrive in an ambience reflecting all the people.
Inauguration Session: Chief Guest, Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nizamuddin, Chairperson PHEC addressing the audience. (From left to right) Hon. Secretary THAAP, Ar. Aabidah Ali; Guest of Honor, Prof. Dr. Zubair A. Khan, VC UET Lahore and CEO THAAP, Prof. Sajida Vandal.
Director THAAP, Prof. Pervaiz Vandal addressing the audience. Session 1 chaired by Prof. Dr. Tariq Rahman. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Atia Sadiq, Dr. Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi, Prof. Dr. Tariq Rahman (Session Chair) and Dr. Kanwal Khalid.
Session 2 chaired by Dr. Mubarak Ali. Speakers: (from left to right) Ar. Zahra Ashraf, Prof. Dr. Neelam Naz, Dr. Mubarak Ali (Session Chair) and Abdullah Qureshi.
Exhibition of works of Abdullah Qureshi and Rabi Georges titled “Void” at Gallery 39 K.
Session 3 chaired by Mr. Christoph Spreng. Speakers: (from left to right) Mr. Ghiasuddin Pir, Dr. Ulka Anjaria and Mr. Christoph Spreng (Session Chair)
Session 4 chaired by Prof. Sajida Vandal. Speakers: (from left to right) Ar. Asiya Sadik Polack, Mr. Christoph Spreng, Sara Kazmi and Prof. Sajida Vandal (Session Chair).
Session 5 chaired by Prof. Pran Neville. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Melanie Dissanayake, Ms. Asna Mubashra, Prof. Dr. Tariq Rahman and Prof. Pran Neville (Session Chair).
Inauguration of THAAP International Photography Exhibition at UET, Lahore.
Session 6 chaired by Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud. Speakers: (from left to right) Ar. Tanzia Islam, Mr. Zubair Torwali and Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud (Session Chair).
Session 7 chaired by Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed. Speakers: (from left to right) Mr. Aasim Akhtar, Ar. Tanzia Islam and Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Session Chair).
Session 7: Ms. Sadia Kamran at the dice.
Session 8 chaired by Prof. Dr. Mira Phailbus. Speaker: Ar. Maria Aslam (right)
Session 8: Mr. Taseer Hussain at the dice.
Session 9 chaired by Prof. Dr. Neelam Naz. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Alina Khalid at the dice presenting Ar. Azeer Attari’s paper, Ar. Syed Faisal Sajjad, Ar. Shama Usman and Prof. Dr. Neelam Naz (Session Chair).
Session 10 chaired by Mr. Mushtaq Soofi. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Mariam Saleem Farooqi, Mr. Ashish Shukla, Mr. Mushtaq Soofi (Session Chair) and Ms. Rida Arif.
Rapporteur General, Ar. Syed Fawad Hussain presenting a report on the conference proceeding
Director THAAP, Prof. Pervaiz Vandal giving the closing remarks.
Closing Session. Chief Guest, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Akram Khan, VC UET Lahore (left) and CEO THAAP, Prof. Sajida Vandal (right).
THAAP Research Exposition
FIFTH INTERNATIONAL THAAP CONFERENCE 2014
Culture, Art & Architecture of the Marginalized and the Poor
Held on November 07-10, 2014 at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore
The peer-reviewed research journal ‘Culture, Art and Architecture of the Marginalized and the Poor’ was published in Nov 2015. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal is the Editor
Fifth International THAAP Conference was held in collaboration with HEC, University of Engineering and Technology, and THAAP in which scholars from Bangladesh, Belgium, India, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA and Pakistan presented their papers.
A 4 day conference with 3 pilot projects was held as follows:
- THAAP Research Exposition (pilot) at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore.
- Art Exhibition at Gallery 39K, Lahore and Dinner.
- THAAP International Photography Exhibition (pilot) and THAAP International Film Screening (pilot) at School of Architecture and Design, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore with exhibition opening by Vice Chancellor, UET and Dinner.
- Walled City visits of Bhatti, Lohari and Delhi gates on 4th Day with a visit of the Lahore Fort and Lunch at Lahore Fort organised by Department of Archaeology.
Closing Session at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore and Dinner sponsored by Mr. Shamim ul Haq.
List of Paper Readers
Anthropology Program, BRAC University, Dhaka Beyond the Debris of Capitalism: Memory, Traces and Resistance among Garment Workers in Bangladesh
2. Shaila Islam
Lecturer, Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology, Gazipur
Architect, Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET) Cultural Representation for Sustainable Development: Case of Ethnic Tea Garden Workers Community, Bangladesh
Tanzia Islam Innovative use of space by the marginalized and the poor-flyovers of Dhaka as case study
4. Asiya Sadiq Polak
Associate Professor at DAP-NEDUET, Karachi (On PhD leave) Visiting Faculty LUCA at Leuven, Belgium Creating Common Grounds
New Delhi Barefoot architects: The Habitat of the Moodah Makers of Farrukhnagar and the Weavers of Chanderi
6. Azeer Attari
Let’s play together
Doctoral Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The Pashtun Tribal Identity and Codes: At Odds with the Pakistan’s post-9/11 Policies
8. Prachi Gupta
Architect, New Delhi Culture, Art and Architecture of the Tribes of India
9. Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed, PhD
LUMS Lahore Art of the Marginalized and Poor: A Discussion
Professor, Punjab University, Lahore Artists and Artisans of the Marginalized Status
11. A. Zahra Ashraf
Chief Architect, Punjab C&W Department, Lahore.
Prof. Neelum Naz, PhD
Chairperson Architecture Department, U.E.T. Lahore. Street Children: From Edge of Marginalization to Mainstream Re-integration
12. Sara Kazmi
Lahore Left-wing Cultural Politics in Pakistani Punjab: 1960s to the present
13. Syed Faisal Sajjad
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, NCA, Lahore Urban graffiti in Lahore
(Art of the marginalized)
14. Tariq Rehman, PhD
Distinguished National Professor and Dean, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Language on Wheels: Writings on Pakistani Trucks as a Window into Popular Worldview
15. Aisha Asim Imdad
Associate Professor, CIIT Islamabad
A study of Crafts of Abbass Nager, Bahawalpur and Its role in creating Economic Opportunities for the Marginalized and the poor.
16. Zubair Torwali
Executive Director, Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT), Swat The ignored Dardic culture
17. Khataumal, PhD
Mithi Tharparkar Marginalized of Mithi
18. Prof. Anis A. Siddiqi, PhD
Chairperson, Dept. of Architecture, College of Art and Deisgn, University of the Punjab, Lahore
Soufia A. Siddiqi
PhD Candidate, Department of Education, St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, UK Reverse Marginalization through Architecture: Spatial and Temporal disconnection of the wealthy from social reality in Lahore
Architect, Founder and Chief Editor, ADA Magazine Absent Presence; the changing reverberations, evocations and resonance of art and culture in the otherwise ignored strata of society.
Professor, Department of Architecture, NED University Karachi Mohanas of Manchar Lake:
An Indigenous Cultural Tradition Pushed to the Edge
21. Aasim Akhtar
Textile Designer, Islamabad
Director, Chameleon (House of Haute Couture). The Flying Needle
22. Abdullah Qureshi
Lecturer, PIFD, Lahore The Traumatic Past
23. Asna Mubashra
Lecturer, Textile Design Department, Punjab University, Lahore. Ralli: A Legendary Folklore Nurtured by Marginalized
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, NCA, Lahore Urban graffiti in Lahore
(Art of the marginalized)
25. Atia Sadiq
MS Art History, PU, Lahore Culture, Art and Architecture of Nomadic People of Pakistan
26. Shama Usman
Architect, PCATP Islamabad Improving social conditions at Dera Jatta, through development projects by TRUCE 2000-2014.
Interior Designer Shaqq - An Archetypal House of Baltistan
Citizens Archives of Pakistan The Lost Art of Rawalpindi
29. Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman
Language on Wheels
30. Melanie Dissanayake
Cultural changes and commercial challenges; The traditional potter community in Sri Lanka
Luzern, Switzerland "Dialogue – ways to move from polarization to participation"
32. Ali Arsalan Pasha
PhD Scholar, METU, Ankara Resisting Homogeneity: The Case of Christian Colonies as Urban Residue in Islamabad
United States of America
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Brandeis University Realism and Resistance in South Asian Literature
34. Sana Tajuddin
Architect, London Experiencing Confluences and Disassociations - The Culture and Architecture of Shrines: A Case Study on Shrine of Shams Sabzwari of Multan, Pakistan.
THAAP Conference Report 2014
By Ar. Syed Fawad Hussain
The 5th International THAAP Conference titled “Culture, Art and Architecture of the Marginalized and the Poor”, 7th to 10th November 2014, was organized by THAAP and the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore with the support of Higher Education Commission, Islamabad. Thaap Conference 2014 included 10 paper reading sessions, Thaap Research Exposition which ran parallel to the paper reading sessions, Thaap Photography Exhibition and Thaap Film Screening which were all pilot projects and received an overwhelming response. Paper reading sessions and Research Exposition were held at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore from 7th to 9th and the field trip for Walled City, Lahore was arranged on the 10th.
At the beginning of the Inaugural Session, Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal an educationist, architect and CEO of THAAP presented publications of THAAP journals to Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin and Prof. Dr. Zubair A Khan. She informed that in the previous years the University of Gujrat and HEC were partners in this conference and this year the University of Engineering and Technology also became a partner to THAAP conference. For that she thanked former Vice Chancellor of UET Lt. General Muhammad Akram Khan and Chairperson, School of Architecture and Planning, UET, Prof. Dr. Neelum Naz. She also recognised HEC’s financial assistance which has been present for the last three years. She gave brief introduction of THAAP. THAAP started as a trust and was later registered with SECP under section 42 company. She introduced aims of THAAP which include
• Improving the state of education in Pakistan that will not just focus on literacy but rather on the education of the mind.
• Promoting historical understanding from the people’s perspective
• Exploring and extending cultural expressions
• Creating an access between art and science and also promoting social sciences and humanities in the country, and for that she appreciated the contributions of Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin.
She also informed the audience that THAAP has several forums and the most important is the conference, which is an open forum for academics, scholars and researchers. The other is the THAAP Publications, which has already published more than 13 books. THAAP culture and development forum is working in the villages on the development of rural and marginalised communities. THAAP crafts promote works that are happening in the villages.
At the end she once again welcomed all the participants and delegates from and outside Pakistan and she was sorry about the 21 delegates coming from India who couldn’t make it due to visa issues.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin in his inaugural address thanked Prof Pervaiz Vandal and Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal for inviting him for the Inaugural ceremony of the THAAP conference 2014. He appreciated the choice of the topic and described it as a ‘revolution in Pakistan’ since the focus has not been on the marginalised and the Poor in this country and advised THAAP to go one step further next year and showcase the art expressed by the Poor and marginalised. He stressed on having a public policy and establishing a public trust that should facilitate, and fund these kinds of educational endeavours to avoid bureaucratic hurdles. He emphasised on the promotion of the arts and humanities and stated that without them ‘we cannot get out of the mess’ we are in. He advised to hold the conference next time at a larger venue to reach out to wider public especially the younger generation.
Prof. Dr. Zubair A Khan in his address appreciated THAAP and department of architecture UET for organizing this forum in collaboration. He pledged that UET would continue to support THAAP. He congratulated the organizing body of THAAP.
Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman chaired the first session of the conference after a tea break. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal , an architect, educationist and THAAP conference convenor commenced the session with the opening remarks on the theme of the conference. He stated that we are proud to highlight issues that are not too popular but are important to look at. He gave a brief history of THAAP conferences; first conference held in 2010 was on ‘Historiography of architecture of Pakistan and Region” and stated that we need to find our feet to challenge the distorted image of our history. 2nd conference in 2011 on ‘Portraits of Lahore’ was incredibly important to us to understand how people connect to Lahore in diverse ways. 3rd conference on “Life in small towns” in 2012, addressed other areas apart from Lahore. And the 4th conference was on “Cultural roots of Art and Architecture of the Punjab” held in 2013, which looked at Punjab as a melting pot of various cultures due to being on the crossroads. He expressed his extreme pleasure on the fact that seventy per cent of the contributors who have written for the conferences are between the ages of 30 to 45 most importantly the number of paper readers are keep on increasing as THAAP got 17 abstracts in its first conference and 87 in the 5th.
Three papers were presented in this first session. First by Dr. Kanwal Khalid on “Artists and artisans of the marginalized status” Her paper focused on artists who have never been highlighted although their artistic products were great in quality. Somehow they were not given the attention that they deserved. There was no doubt about their sense of creativity but their exposure to the artistic circle was marginalized due to lack of so-called social company. And as a case study she discussed Qamar Din an artist who was active in the early 20th century. 2nd paper, The Birds of Society: Culture Art and Architecture of Nomadic People of Pakistan by Atia Sadiq. Her submission explored the art and culture of Pakistani nomads and to uncover their concept, ideation, and perception about their traditions as being the part of the culture as a whole. It will be an exploratory study situated in qualitative paradigm.
3rd paper from our guest speaker from Bangaldesh Dr. Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi titled Beyond the Debris of Capitalism: Memory, Traces and Resistance among Garment Workers in Bangladesh. A very interesting paper on a very horrific incident of collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24th 2013, killing over 1100 workers and injuring many others. Her paper explored the significance of photographs and ID cards, on multiple registers, for garment workers and their families as these pictures from cellphone camera or in studio, what she called an emergent subaltern culture became the only documentary proof for their families to claim compensations or put them on the posters of missing people. She analysed the photographs taken by Taslima Akhter and others during the rescue efforts.
Session 2 started with sufi Kalam. This session was chaired by Dr. Mubarik Ali. 1st paper was presented by Ar. Zahra Ashraf and Prof. Dr.Neelum Naz together on the topic of Street Children: From Edge of Marganalisation to Mainstreem re-integration. The major objective of this research paper was to bring into limelight one of the major marginalized group of our society with special reference to Lahore. The focus of this paper was threefold: finding the underlying causes for the abandonment of these children by their families, critically studying the Street Children facility set up by the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau at Lahore and recommending an integrated approach involving Government and N.G.O.’s for family re-integration on sustainable basis.
2nd paper by a young artist Abdullah Qureshi titled “The Traumatic Past” drawing a distinction between sexual abuse and sexual orientation and understanding the trauma caused by the former by analysing personal accounts/memories from Freudian and Jungian perspectives, further illustrated this by examining the relationship between sexual abuse and art done by looking at specific artists/art works that had dealt with such traumatic histories or narratives.
3rd paper by Ali Arsalan Pasha titled “Resisting Homogeneity: the case of Christian colonies as urban residue in Islamabad” advocated the acceptance of a typology of the marginalized and the poor – not seeking to transform or improve it, but rather allowing it to exist and participate in consistent socio-political contestation.
The evening program included an Exhibition of works of Abdullah Qureshi and Rabi Georges titled “Void” at Gallery 39 K followed by dinner hosted by Gallery 39K.
On the 2nd Day, session 3 chaired by Mr. Cristoph Spreng opened with Prof. Dr Anila Naeem’s paper titled Mohanas of Manchar Lake: An Indigenous Culture Tradition Pushed to Edge. This paper reflected on the invaluable cultural and historical significance of Manchar Lake’s community of ‘Mohanna’ boat dwellers.
2nd paper by Dr. Khataumal was read by Ghiasuddin Pir titled Tharparker-A district on the Margins. Dr. Khataumal’s paper looked at the effect of modernity specifically in the form of a laid down metalled road and its affect on the marginalized community. He outlined how modernization has helped the Tharis in ways such as access to health care and education but new challenges have now arisen such as road accidents, which need to be addressed. He described how modernization does help a number of people but does indeed come with its baggage. The last paper of the session was by Dr. Ulka Anjaria titled Realism and Resistance in South Asian Literature. The paper argued that understanding the role of literature in political resistance movements requires a complex theory of what literary realism is and how it works and how do Premchand, Manto and Hanif together tell the story of a South Asian literature of resistance, literature that is a political democratic project to represent the lives of the poor and disenfranchised.
Session 4 was chaired by Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal. Sara Kazmi opened the session with her paper titled Left Wing Cultural Politics in Pakistani Punjab: 1960s to the Present. She explore the salient aspects of Punjabi cultural movements in left-wing political parties through street theatre and its dedication in producing and popularizing an alternative tradition of art and intellectual thought. Her worked showed us how Punjabi, fated to its marginalized status in colonial as well as post-colonial Pakistan, has remained a marker of the working class and has been shunned by the upwardly mobile middle classes and the elite. Due to this, the employment of Punjabi at a conscious level and its cultural forms for progressive art presents a radical political practice. 2nd paper of the session was by Mr. Christoph Spreng titled Dialogue-Ways to Move from Polarization to Participation. His paper highlighted the need for an all‐stakeholders approach when working to bring about tangible improvements in the field of culture, art and architecture of the marginalized and the poor. Therefore, he stressed the need to get acquainted with this recently developed INGO Dialogue Toolkit. Third paper titled Creating Common Grounds by Ar. Asiya Sadik Polack focused on public space making, which she thought is crucial for an equitable mainstream Pakistani culture, art and architecture which will then provide the common grounds for cultural interaction, intellectual exchange and social inclusion of all classes supporting the making of a sustainable Pakistani society.
Session 5 started with sufi kalaams. This session was chaired by Prof. Pran Neville. First paper was presented by Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman. The paper described and analyzed writings on the trucks in Pakistan with a view to understanding how they are written and what conventions govern their location on the body of the truck. 2nd paper was presented by Ms. Asna Mubashra titled Ralli: A Legendary Folklore Nurtured by the Marginalised. This paper looked into Ralli as a unique textile art and technique of marginalized nurtured here in south Punjab. Ms. Melanie Dissanayake from Sri Lanka was the third speaker of this session. Her paper titled Cultural changes and commercial challenges; the traditional potter community in Sri Lanka. This paper explored how change of cultural practices have affected the societies, products, production process and their responses to commercial challenges through an in-depth study of a potter’s village in Sri Lanka.
After the session all the guests and speakers went to UET for the inauguration of Thaap International Photography Exhibition and Thaap International Film Screening followed by Dinner.
Session 6 was chaired by Dr. Rahat N. Masud. Two papers were presented in this session. First paper titled “Innovative Use of Space by Marginalized and the Poor –Flyovers of Dhaka” presented by Ar. Tanzia Islam and Ar. Shajabin Kabir helped us understand how the marginalized communities of Dhaka, with its property values and rents increasing, have faced challenges. The paper presented some recent case studies showing such innovative use of space in Dhaka city by the economically marginalized and the poor and also discussed a number of existing examples worldwide as possibilities for South Asian cities. Their research could help us understand and explore design possibilities for simple but quality space with low cost options that could also be something of use in our own country. Second paper was presented by Zubair Torwali on “The Ignored Dardic Culture”. According to Mr. Torwali, the Dard or Darada land includes Chitral, Swat, Dir, Indus Kohistan and Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan and the Darada people of the region are the least explored. Mainstream Pakistanis do not know about the unique identity, culture and languages of these people. His paper focused on the Dardic origin of Swat.
Session 7 was chaired by Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad. First paper of the session was presented by Sadia Pasha Kamran titled “Representation of the Poor and the Marginalized in Pakistani Art: From Romanticism to Social Realism and Political Activism”. She looked critically into the work of arts of the acclaimed painters whose subjects were the poor and marginalized. She remarked that these poor and marginalized occurred as an important subject of art and such decorations happen to decorate the avenues of the rich where the physical presence of the poor is formidable. Second paper was presented by Aasim Akhtar titled “The Flying Needle”. He highlighted the complexity, variety and the extraordinary nature of Hazara embroidery that clearly highlights the intrinsic awareness of beauty. Design elements and their spiritual significance are connected in the community. The role of embroidery for women to pass time and be communally involved making sheets, quilts, pillows and other things, which are used in everyday lives and special social events. He very rightly declared Artisans as community historians. 3rd paper was by Ar. Shaila Islam and Ar. Istiaque Ahmed presented by Ar. Tanzia Islam titled “Cultural Representation for Sustainable Development: Case of Ethnic Tea Garden Workers Community, Bangladesh”. They investigated different settlements of ethnic tea garden workers in the North East region of Bangladesh. They focused on exploring the age-old pattern of living, of different ethnic communities. The paper highlighted the importance of the long-standing cultural practices of the workers. Through this they gave us an insight into how sustainable-built form development is explored. Shaila Islam and Istiaque Ahmed impressively showed us how present day practices can be integrated with the cultural practices of workers and contribute towards sustainable architecture in the future.
Session 8 was chaired by Prof. Dr. Mira Phailbus and first paper was presented by Muhammad Taseer Hussain titled “Shaqq-An Archetypal House of Baltistan”. He focused on the preservation and documentation of one of the tradition residential architecture styles of Baltistan locally known as Shaqq through his on-scale survey drawings. He examined the impact of modernism on the Balti architecture and gave us an insightful presentation on how traditional building methods can present us with a method to preserve traditional residential Balti architecture. Second Paper was presented by Ar. Maria Aslam-Hyder titled “Absent Presence; the Changing Reverberations, Evocations and Resonance of Art and Culture: the Otherwise Ignored Strata of Society”. She explored how the marginalized people’s art work has enriched Karachi in a number of ways such as the cuisine, dwelling parameters and artwork. Living in the harsh realities of inflation she analysed the work carried out by NGOs, citizens, and galleries and their relationship to the communities, artists and artisans. She gave us a view of how people use art to change their lives and highlighted actual experiences where art has made a difference.
Session 9 was chaired by Prof. Dr. Neelum Naz. First paper titled “Let’s Play Together” was by Ar. Azeer Attari and read by Alina Khalid. This paper is an expression of an artist talking about his alternative approach to art, art practice and activism. The thrust of the paper is on intuitive response and individual’s freedom of thought, speech and act. In the paper he strategized the approach to art into planned categories concluding in the unplanned. The thematic in certain cases are drawn from the moral aspect of art focusing on environment, ecology, people and life. Second paper was presented by Ar. Shama Usman titled “Improving Social Conditions at Dera Jatta through Development Projects by TRUCE 2000-2014”. She highlighted the importance of education and awareness as tools to create safe environments and safeguarding the rights of poor and disadvantaged people. The role of the Nafisa Mai Primary School and its role in providing vocational training to women gave us a first-hand view of how such projects have affected communities. Shama Usman very successfully demonstrated that in order to improve human and social conditions in underprivileged areas the community itself should be involved and organizations and local people must work together to achieve successful results. Last paper of the session was presented by Ar. Syed Faisal Sajjad titled “Urban Graffiti in Lahore (Art of the Marganalized”). The tone of the paper is set by distinction between the marginalized and poor. Syed Faisal Sajjad explored graffiti as an alternate medium of expression in Lahore and explored how it is used and showed us its anti-authoritarian role in challenging the establishment. His research highlighted how people leave their mark on public spaces and develop a sense of ownership and through this how graffiti works for freedom of speech. Faisal provided us with an alternative view of graffiti in Lahore and highlighted it as an important element of urban spaces of the marginalized communities residing in Lahore.
Session 10 was chaired by Mr. Mushtaq Soofi and the first paper titled “The Pashtun Tribal Identity and Codes: At Odds with the Pakistan’s Post 9/11 Policies” was by Ashish Shukla. The paper critically analysed Pakistan’s approach, in post-9/11 period, towards the tribal areas that came in direct conflict with the Pashtun tribal identity and codes. The last paper of the session and the conference was presented by Mariam Saleem Farooqi and Rida Arif titled “The lost Art of Rawalpindi”. Their paper introduced us to the Hindu and Sikh residents of Rawalpindi who unfortunately have to keep their identities quiet for the fear of becoming targets of the widespread persecution of minorities in present day Pakistan. The presenters focused on Art in the form of sculptures and frescoes which have been disfigured due to an “othering” that exists in our society. The restoration work carried out at Sujhan Singh Haveli by the National College of Arts, Rawalpindi and the lack of funds available for the maintenance of the functioning Krishna Mandir were highlighted in their paper.
The closing session of Thaap Conference 2015 included an address by the Chief Guest, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Akram Khan and certificate distribution ceremony for the paper readers, exposition participants, volunteers and the organizers.
Pariticipants of Thaap Research Exposition:
1. Abdullah Qureshi
2. Asiya Sadik Polak (Belgium)
3. Asna Mubashra
4. Atia Sadiq
5. Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman
6. Mariam Saleem Farooqi and Rida Arif
7. Muhammad Taseer Hussain
8. Prachi Gupta (India)
9. Rabi Georges (UAE)
10. Sana Tajjuddin
11. Shama Usman
12. Syed Faisal Sajjad
13. Tanzia Islam and Shajabin Kabir (Bangladesh)