An international conference on Culture, Art and Architecture of the Marginalized and the Poor began on Friday.
The conference was organized by a non-proft trust, Thaap, in collaboration with the University of Engineering and Technology and Higher Education Commission, Islamabad.
The inaugural session began with the welcome address by Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal, an educationist, architect and CEO of the trust. She explained that the trust is a non-profit founded in 2006 organizing talks, seminars and colloquiums that lead to the conference at the end of each year. She said that from conferences on Historiography of Architecture in 2010, Portrait of Lahore in 2011, Life in Small Towns in 2012 and Cultural Roots of Art and Architecture of the Punjab in 2013 to Culture, Art and Architecture of the Marginalized & the Poor this year, the trust has varied subsets that play a pivotal role in improving the state of education along with promoting the socio-economic and cultural development in Pakistan.
Chief guest Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nizamuddin thanked Prof Pervaiz Vandal and Prof Sajida Vandal for inviting him and appreciated the papers that were published in the latest publication. Dr. Zubair A. Khan, Professor at University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, was the guest of honour.
He appreciated the diverse and universal approach of the paper readers towards the topic selection in context to the conference theme. He said: “The UET will always support such events and publications”. He praised the role of HEC in supporting the trust and thanked the organizers.
Prof Pervaiz Vandal, an architect, educationist and conference convener, commenced the session with opening remarks on the theme. He elucidated the detail of the theme and said: “The fundamental reason for our today is our yesterday; and unless we confront our yesterday, our tomorrow will be the same, if not worse. 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 for change”.
The first session after a tea break was chaired by Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman, a Pakistani academic, columnist and intellectual currently based in Lahore. He is the author of many books and publications, mainly in the field of linguistics. He has been awarded several national and international awards to recognize his research and scholarly work. The second session started with a live kalam sung by Khalid Gawar. Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, a writer and professor emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University, and honourary senior fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, shared his views on the conference.
Eminent Indian writer Pran Nevile also spoke about the theme of the conference.
The session was chaired by Dr. Mubarak Ali, an eminent historian, activist and scholar of Pakistan.