PNCA Opened a Photographic Exhibition
Culture is the binding force to bring even arch rivals on the same page. The glaring example of this was witnessed on Thursday evening inside the building of Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Islamabad, where two political rivals – Iran and USA embassy officials – got together to showcase their cultural achievements in Gallery No 1, and Gallery No 2 of National Art Gallery (NAG).
The US embassy in collaboration with PNCA opened a photographic exhibition under ‘The US Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation – Pakistan Projects’. The Iran Embassy in collaboration with PNCA organised sufi music programme and screening of feature films to celebrate 33rd year of Islamic Revolution in Iran as part of ‘Cultural Festival of Iran’.
When asked an official of Iran whether they have invited the US officials to visit gallery No 1 where Iranian photographic exhibition has been put on display, he smilingly said: “Yes, definitely. I have personally met few officials of the US embassy and invited them to be a part of Iranian cultural festival but I could not talk to the US Ambassador Cameron Munter to invite him formally.” While talking to this scribe, the US embassy officials said: “It is a rare surprise for us and we would definitely visit Iranian exhibition as there is no harm in knowing about cultural values of each other.” This scribe observed few of many Iranian officials near US Ambassador Munter when the later was making speech in Gallery No. 2 and some the US officials hovering in next gallery to watch Iranian photography and calligraphy exhibition.
In Gallery No 2, US Ambassador Cameron Munter inaugurated a photo exhibition highlighting 10 years (2001-2012) of the US support for the preservation of Pakistani heritage and antiquities through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
While addressing on the occasion, Munter, who was accompanied by his wife Dr Marilyn Wyatt, PNCA DG Tauqir Nasir and officials of PNCA and US embassy, said: “The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation epitomises the cultural partnership between the US and Pakistan and emphasises our respect for Pakistan’s rich heritage and diversity”.
Munter said he felt honoured to play his role and collaborate with Pakistan in this prestigious project of paying tribute to the cultural heritage of Pakistan. “The PNCA and USA mission in Islamabad enjoys excellent relations in the sphere of art and culture. Together, we have been able to promote varied dimensions of art and culture. We need to encourage and build up people-to-people contact through creative means and cordial relationship”, the ambassador added.
Munter said: “Cultural heritage is a crucial link to the past and teaches us who we are today. It transcends all boundaries, and its study helps us to better understand each other as people.” The US embassy has also lined up educational programmes for students and young professionals focusing on rich and diverse heritage sites and history of these sites and the art of architectural photography, he added.
Over the past 10 years, the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation has expended over 34 million US dollars in support of 700 projects in 120 countries. The first project in Pakistan, undertaken in 2001, restored the stone foundations of Sirkap, a well known archaeological site in Taxila. Since then, the US Embassy has worked with partners in the federal and provincial governments on numerous projects throughout Pakistan.
These projects range from excavation of Gandhara archaeological treasures and preservation of Mughal architectural heritage to documentation of historic manuscripts and restoration of Sufi shrines of spiritual and religious significance.
Amidst colourful festivity of the USA Embassy, the Iranian Embassy marked the 33rd year of Islamic Revolution in Iran, where besides photo and calligraphic exhibition, a number of art and craft pieces, rugs, decoration pieces, mosaic work, samples of Quran-e-Pak, and a wide range of books were put on display. The festival included paintings and photography exhibitions which highlighted the life and works of Ayatollah Khomeini and other political leaders and development of Iran in various fields.
On the occasion, an Iranian troupe presented Iranian music including sufi kalam, asma-e-husna, and classical songs. Iranian film titled ‘Hazrat Yousuf (AS)’ was also screened inside PNCA auditorium at 6:00 pm.
Iranian Cultural Counselor Taqi Sadegi said it was a matter of pleasure that Iran and Pakistan were enjoying their cultural ties that would surely strengthen their socioeconomic relations. Sadeghi appreciated the management of PNCA for their cordial cooperation.