Culture, photography exhibition showcases Tharparkar’s ‘agonies’

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People, culture and lifestyle, landscape, as well as the daily hardships faced by the people of Tharparkar were captured by a group of eight burgeoning photographers along with The Editor’s Cut and its team of three filmmakers where they spent three days photographing in their own unique ways.

Tharparkar: Beautiful & Misunderstood, a cultural and photography exhibition, as output of this journey and to show Karachiites the real life and sufferings of people of this desert was opened here in Alliance Française.

This project was initiated by Green Crescent Trust (GCT), in collaboration with Alliance Française de Karachi, aiming to raise awareness about Tharparkar’s immense potential and the real issues plaguing the region and its people. The exhibition was inaugurated by Zahid Saeed, CEO of GCT.

Before opening of exhibition, a ceremony was held to praise efforts of GCT, photographers and to feel pain of people of Tharparkar. The ceremony was attended by art lovers, philanthropists and media persons.

Head Cultural Programs at Alliance Francaise Eric Taze delivered welcome address. Saad Zuberi, Manager Public Relations, GCT, told audience that Green Crescent Trust was operating four schools in Mithi, Islamkot, Chachro and Deplo areas of Tharparkar. These schools have enrolment of 1,500 students. The GCT is also providing water projects in 170 far-flung villages of Tharparkar to cater water needs of about 30,000 inhabitants, he shared.

Speaking about the innovative programme, Saad Zuberi said there was no better way to help the people of Tharparkar than to include the artistic youth of Pakistan in their efforts, and that’s exactly what this whole programme was about.  This trip had exposed them to a whole new world they knew nothing about, and in turn they had helped them bring a piece of Thar to Karachi to share with them. “We’re hopeful the exhibition will attract generous donors and philanthropists who will join hands with GCT to make the lives of Thar’s downtrodden people easier,” he hoped.

Sharing activities of GCT, its CEO Zahid Saeed told that they had started charity work about 15 years ago in Tharparkar aiming to increase enrolment in schools. “We run 128 schools all over Sindh having enrolment of 20,000 children of the far-flung villages. Out of this, 50 schools are in suburbs and under developed areas of Karachi like OrangiTown, Katti Pahari, ItehadTown, Baldia. We want to bring a positive change and target most vulnerable areas of the province despite very poor law and order situation there,” he said.

“Situation is very worse for last three years in Tharparkar. We have started to install hand pumps and submersible pumps with concrete water tank in each village of district. We have completed 176 such projects and 35 more are underway. Each project can cater all water needs of about 400 people. There are 2,300 villages in total in Tharparkar and we have aimed to provide this utility in all villages by 2020. This will cost just 220 million rupees which is not a big deal as compared to billion of rupees earmarked by government to provide such facilities to these poor people,” he lamented.

The exhibition remained opened three days for public. Each photographer displayed 10-12 of his or her images from the trip at the exhibition. Guests also witnessed artwork themed ‘Thar, as we see it’ created by students of GCT’s Hilal Public Schools in Tharparkar. GCT also invited artisans from Tharparkar to take part in the program. Thari folk musician SabhagoKhas-Kehli performed at regular intervals throughout the exhibition. SitaBai and Taju, expert Ghaj (traditional embroidered Thari dresses) and Rulli (patchwork dresses, bed sheets) makers displayed their needlework skills, while Nandlaal and Varseen demonstrated their hand woven shawl making skills using a homemade khaddi.

A short documentary on the Tharparkar photography expedition by The Editor’s Cut was also screened at regular intervals. The photography and children’s art will continue to be displayed at AF for an additional two weeks until March 13 from 9:00am to 6:00pm.