Lahore has for the longest time, been known as the cultural hub of Pakistan. It hosts a vibrant and colorful atmosphere, which many people are instantly drawn to. Therefore, it is quite apt that Khayaal-Creative Network has chosen Pakistan’s city of thriving culture as the location for their upcoming ‘Festival of Arts & Literature.’
The festival, is bringing together a variety of speakers from the fields of literature, art, music, dance, architecture, journalism, film, television and theatre to demonstrate how progressive and dynamic Pakistan is as a nation.
The ‘Festival of Arts & Literature 2013’ shall be held on 2ndand 3rd November 2013 at Alhamra from 10am to 8pm on each day. On the first day, 2nd November, there will be an inaugural session from 10am-11am in Hall 1 with Syed Babar Ali giving the keynote speech to open the event. Sessions shall be from 10am to 6pm, with live performances in theatre/music from 6.30pm to 8pm each night.
Khayaal-Creative Network is an organization set up by four talented women, namely Ayesha Husain, Zainab Qureshi, Amna Omar and Nuria Rafique-Iqbal, who for the longest time, had a collective vision of promoting the arts and literature in Pakistan by holding events that celebrate Pakistani talent and promote open discussion and debate.
The ‘Festival of Arts & Literature’ does just that, and aims to differentiate itself from other literary and performing arts festivals by bringing together the best of two worlds, arts and literature, under one roof. The festival brings an exciting combination of leading Pakistanis, making a name for themselves in the world of arts and literature.
In recent times it has become a trend to invite speakers from India and other countries to attract audiences, and where there is no harm in doing so, Khayaal-Creative Network feels that Pakistan at this point benefits from first and foremost, celebrating its own Pakistani artists and writers. That is the underlying concept that this particular festival epitomizes.
Ayesha Husain, one of the founders of Khayaal-Creative Network elaborates on this point and explains the organization’s idea behind the festival: “We want to honor Pakistani talent and give back something to this beautiful city of Lahore and its people. This city has given all of us so much in terms of culture, history, architecture and beauty, and we feel that we should celebrate this with everyone.”
The ‘Festival of Arts & Literature’ has a strong lineup of speakers and the sessions scheduled promise to be both fascinating to witness, as well as extremely informative for those attending. International journalist and television host, Riz Khan, who is an inspiration to media and journalism students the world over, will also be doing a session via Skype on “Journalism and Ethics”. Riz is a British Pakistani but has made a name for himself in international media through his shows on BBC World, CNN International and Al Jazeera English.
One of the most prominent artists of his generation, Rashid Rana’s segment “An Artist Talks” promises to be an interesting insight into his collection of works and their inspiration.
Pakistan’s most well-known and beloved singer, Farida Khanum, shall be gracing the stage with her presence. Her session will be Ali Sethi, entitled “The Love Song of Pakistan”.
In celebration of our mother tongue, the acclaimed feminist Urdu poet, Kishwar Naheed will be especially travelling from Islamabad to participate in the festival as a speaker. “Literature in all times is the basic fragrance for aesthetics and human development, at this juncture of time when blood is so easy to be thrown in the streets of Pakistan, such a conference may change the mood”, she comments.
In addition, Intizar Hussain shall be in conversation with Khalid Ahmed and Sarmad Khoosat and Salman Shahid shall be celebrating Pakistan’s poetry with their session “Main Manto”.
The festival gets a little serious with Nighat Rizvi, Baela Jamil, Samar Minallah and Zainab Omar on the topic “What our Daughters Deserve” – a discussion of issues facing women of the 21st century. While at the same time, many will have a good laugh with Gul I Naukhaiz Akhtar and Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Virq at their session “Mazah Paray”.
For those with a love of film, the ‘Festival of Arts & Literature 2013’ will see the actors and production team from the recent Pakistani blockbusters “Main Hoon Shahid Afridi” and “Waar” come together for the talk “Lights, Camera, Action” including Javed Shaikh, Kamran Lashari and Bilal Lashari. Furthermore, Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, the directors of critically acclaimed film “Zinda Bhaag” join Abdur Rauf in a discussion on the “Future of Pakistani Cinema”.
International best-selling author, Mohsin Hamid shall be discussing “English Fiction and the Pakistani Imagination” with Mira Sethi, while Feryal Ali Gauhar shall be speaking her mind in “Uncut”. “I would like to contribute passion to the festival and I would like the audience to take away possibility from my session”, states Feryal.
Aitzaz Ahsan shall be in conversation with Raza Rumi on his new book in the session “Delhi by Heart – Impressions of a Pakistani traveler”. Musharraf Ali Farooqi shall be giving us an insight into story telling with his talk “Micro Narratives” with Dr. Ali Mehdi Hashmi. The incredibly talented dancer, Nighat Chaudhry shall be setting the stage on fire with her live performance, and Adeel Hashmi and Mira Hashmi shall be bringing “Faiz” to life before our very own eyes.
Every evening will see a live performance from 6.30pm to 8pm. Ajoka shall be pulling out all the stops with their theatre performance of “Mera Rang Day Basanti Chola” on the first night, and the second night shall have the audiences tapping their feet to a musical performance by the band The Poor Rich Boys.
Other speakers and moderators participating in the festival include: Mohsin Hamid, Raza Rumi, Jamal Shah, Adeel Hashmi, Shehnaz Sheikh, Yaqoob Bangash, Feryal Ali Gauhar, Rashid Rana, Kishwar Naheed, Mian Ijaz ul Hassan, Dr. Ajaz Anwar, Wajahat Malik, Moin Khan, Mira Sethi, Salman Rashid, Zeba Bakhtiar, Haseena Moin, Sarmad Khoosat, Tahir Jahangir, Omair Rana, Vasay Chaudry, Javed Shaikh, Ira Hassan, Nayyar Ali Dada, Ira Hassan, Rafay Alam, Farjad Nabi, Sermad Sehbai, Ayesha Siddiqa, Adeel Hashmi, Mira Hashmi, Nighat Chaudry, Zainab, Omar, Samar Minallah, Nighat Rizvi, Masood Hasan, Khalid Masood, Naveed Shehzad, Madeeha Gauhar, Khaled Ahmed, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Farida Khanum, Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Virk, Meenu Gaur, Gul I Naukhaiz Akhtar, Abdur Rauf, Ali Sethi, Omair Rana, Masood Hasan, Naveed Shehzad, Tahir Jahangir, Wajahat Malik, Kamran Lashari, Kamil Khan Mumtaz,Yaqoob Bangash, Bilal Lashari, Majid Sheikh, R M Naeem, Quddus Mirza, Salima Hashmi, Ameena Saiyid, Neelam Hussain, Mukeet Salaam, Laila Rehman, Nabhia Meher, Tahir Jahangir, Naila Noon and Sanam Taseer.
The ‘Festival of Arts & Literature’ is the first event being organized by Khayaal-Creative Network and due to the overwhelming response which it has already received from speakers, sponsors and attendees, the organizers plan on making this an annual event with their next project being a music festival in early 2014.
The festival is open to all and seats will be given on a first come first serve basis. To ensure a place at what promises to be a great platform for likeminded people to come together and initiate lively discourse, early arrival for sessions is suggested. There will also be an abundance of stalls to browse, including one from Daachi Foundation, which shall be displaying the work of local talented artisans. Attendees will also be able to grab a bite to eat at one of the many food stalls that shall be on offer.
Creative Network is an organization set up by Ayesha Husain, Zainab Qureshi, Amna Omar and Nuria Rafique-Iqbal. Ayesha Husain is a Masters in English Literature from Kinnaird College and is currently heading the English Literature Department at LGS Defence, Lahore. She has been a literature student since the age of 13 and has a great passion for the subject, and she has spearheaded this initiative. Nuria Rafique-Iqbal is a qualified UK solicitor.
She is also one of the co-founders of the NGO “Pakistan Rising” and CEO of the social enterprise “Labour & Love”, as well as legal associate at Lexium Law Associates. She has curated and organised in 2011 and 2013 auctions of Pakistan contemporary art at Bonhams, London to raise funds for her Pakistan Rising. Zainab Qureshi has done her Bar at Law Inner Temple and is currently the Director of LACAS, Lahore.
She is also the Director of the NGO, Sakina Nazli Tribute. Zainab has a keen interest in arts and literature. Amna Omar teaches ‘A’ levels, government and political science at LGS and LACAS and has done her Masters in Political Science. She likes reading and enjoys creative arts. Collectively they believe that Pakistan has a rich culture of arts and literature which is often ignored and so the organization aims to promote arts, literature, discussion and debate in Pakistan by organizing a variety of events.