The Comparative Cultures Subgroup through its sessions- trips, presentations, dialogue- attempts an exploration, understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures. It draws upon social & aesthetic themes to understand how social identities, actions, and desires are produced and practiced and the forms that permeate everyday experience: subcultures, popular media (television, film, the internet), and a range of performance practices—dance, music, sports, and fashion.
Coordinator: Jahandad Khan
Co-coordinator: Aimon Fatima
Special Programme: Comparative Cultures/Art - TRANSBORDER FEMINIST ART
Saturday, 20 May 2023
'The way in which international media frames certain ideas affects public perception , and relates to the struggle to deal effectively with a diversity of experiences and perspectives of Muslim women across borders...'
Toronto based visual artist and curator Iman Aziz Bhatti will share her experiences on how Muslim Pakistani women represent their identity and culture across borders through contemporary art, theory and criticism; and how visual arts is giving them agency to represent themselves while challenging the normalization of stereotypical ideas and realities put forward by media.
Iman Azizi Bhatti graduated in Fine Art and in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from Ontario College of Art & Design University. Her practice explores themes of identity, gender roles, orientalism and resistance to emphasize how exposure to images shapes perception, particularly that of South Asian women.
Comparative Cultures - SECRET OR SURVIVAL: DECODING 'HIJRA FARSI' IN PAKISTAN
Saturday, 4 March 2023
'Hijra Farsi'- a secret language historically used by transgenders in Pakistan, has been practised for ages in the larger region of South and Far East Asia. The language is used for expressing concepts, ideas and references unique to the community, that is why they see it as a tool of survival rather than communication. However, its secrecy has been compromised because of social media or direct interaction with transgenders.
The presenter-Tayyaba Rafiq- has spent almost two years observing the transgender community in Lahore, Kasur, Multan, Faisalabad, Karachi, Quetta, and Islamabad. She questions if the language should be documented for safeguarding or kept veiled to protect the concerns of the community.
With an M-Phil (Linguistics) from Beaconhouse National University (BNU) and an Honours degree in English Language and Linguistics,she is passionate for the preservation of the endangered mother tongue (Punjabi), and writes, advocates and researches themes that centre around her interests. Currently she is documenting the language of the Gypsy community in Kasur.
Comparative Cultures - THE INDUS SAGA
Sunday, 12 February 2023
‘Sindhu’ to ‘Indus’ – the mother, the nurturer- a magnetic calling for millions over millennia. Not just a river, she has been home to societies and cultures for over 7000 plus years.The first step is recognizing heritage at a deeper, more profound, celebratory, soulful architectonic conversation …
Over refreshments of artisanal vegan snacks created by Chef Hamza Azim, spend a Sunday afternoon understanding the mystique of the River Indus. The Indus River Valley Institute (IRVI)invites you to a presentation/get-together on the enigmatic River Indus, with architect/cultural anthropologist Zain Mustafa through his body of work!
The Indus River Valley Institute (IRVI), Pakistan’s first Culture & Heritage think Tank for research & Development, set up in 2022 in an idyllic rural earth based setting- on the outskirts of Islamabad- aims to bring the language of an erudite cultural identity to a singular space, with dialogues, data, research, collaborations, curated courses and residency programs, reclaiming the lost 12 nation family members of the bioregional Indus lineage. A blood line history that has been often forgotten or marginalized…
Comparative Cultures - RAFTING THE MIGHTY INDUS: A VISUAL JOURNEY
Friday, 9 December 2022
Multimedia presentation/ Conversation
In Pakistan, the Indus is known by many names: the Father of the Rivers, the Blue Water, the Lion River... Ancient civilizations thrived around it, shrines to Sufi and Hindu saints dot its banks, and its waters irrigate the crops that feed Pakistan's 220 million people...
In 2022, Pakistani film maker and explorer Wajahat Malik led 'Expedition Indus', a six-member team that rafted the entire course of the river in Pakistan. For over 40 days, they moved through gorges of glacial melt, met fishermen who live on boats and got lost in some of the hundreds of miles of irrigation canals that branch off the river!
We will share - through the presentation- the incredible, occasionally harrowing, but always dramatic journey!
Comparative Cultures - ART BEHIND BARS
Saturday, 18 June 2022
Why do prisoners produce art?
Studio, canvas, paints, brushes, sculptures come into our minds when we think of “Art”. To write, to paint, to make art of any kind may be a great and true adventure, but this is not the case with ‘Prison Art’ which has almost nothing to do with the conventional aesthetic value that is usually associated with Art…
Believing that art must never stop at the level of pleasing eyes, Shakeel Ahmad, co-founder Aman Chaupal and an Anthropologist from Kasur will share his ethnographic work on prison art in Punjab. Besides attempting to answer the question ‘Why do prisoners produce art?’ the discussion will include various samples of artifacts/artworks, process methods and approach of art creation, finally utility, and significance of prison Art within and outside the prison.
The presentation will be bi-lingual followed by Q&A session.
Comparative Cultures - ONE FRAME AT A TIME...
Tuesday, 15 March 2022
Join us for a very special presentation comprising comparative cultures/photography & history...a journey through time, preserving history & exploring Pakistan's coming of age through visual storytelling!
Zaidis Photographers is a fourth generation Photography business established in 1904 at Allahbad and Benaras in India.The studio on the Mall in Lahore has been there since 1930 and has photographed more than half a million people to date.
The studio hosts an extensive archive of negatives that capture Lahore's vibrant history. Working actively on preserving this legacy for future generations, Shahid Zaidi, the studio's owner, and his team have painstakingly created digital versions of the images that his father started capturing at his studio in Lahore, almost 92 years ago!
His eventual aim is to to put the complete collection online.
And yes... its quite possible that some of us may find our very own ancestors represented in this fabulous collection of images, from the pre/post Partition decades!
Comparative Cultures-'GURDWARA CHOA SAHIB, JHELUM'- A HERITAGE CONSERVATION PROJECT
Sunday, 21 November 2021
An opportunity not to be missed!
Day trip/ Self Drive to a religious ‘Sikh’ heritage site
The current restoration at 'Gurdwara Chowa Sahib' began in August 2020 under the supervision of four architects. It aims to remove all illegal architectural interventions that took place within the Gurdwara Sahib over time, revealing its original structure for the first time since its inevitable abandonment by the local Sikh community during the 1947 Subcontinent partition riots…
An on-site presentation specially for the ASG, to understand the symbolic significance of the ‘Gurdwara Chowa Sahib’ through narrative, material, and restorative lenses – an intersection of all three from an architectural perspective.
The presenters: Usman Faizi is an architect, poet and photographer with a growing interest in folklore and mysticism. Rubab Fatima Chishti began her professional training at Nayyar Ali Dada and Associates where she was deeply involved in design, restoration and rehabilitation of historic architecture. Mir Shehreyar Nadeem began explorations of the interactions of modernist and traditional lenses and works of architecture led him to the practice of Restoration in Architecture.
Bring own refreshments. Wear comfortable clothing/hats, walking shoes.
Note: SOP's to be observed.
Comparative Cultures - MUGHAL COSTUMES PRINTS, MOTIFS AND THEIR REPRESENTATION IN CONTEMPORARY ART
Friday, 29 January 2021
‘The costumes and turbans coming from the various states and provinces of the “undivided India” -characterized by the rhythm of decorative patterns, vibrancy of colour and finesse of the fabric- had distinct styles developing within various socio-economic classes and gender…’
The presentation will explore symbolism rooted in the costumes of the Mughal court – their prints, motifs and representation in the contemporary urban context particularly in musical videos and films. The contemporary media industry has tried to preserve the distinctiveness of the traditional attire through a lively exchange of experimentation that embraces a fascination for the nostalgic past, characterized with an indefinable balance of compositional elements, ideas, tonalities, moods, dazzling colors and floral ornamental aesthetic….
Adventure Club/Archaeology - TAKHT E BAHI- A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Saturday, 19 December 2020
A Day Trip
The Takht-e-Bahi Buddhist Monastery is one of the most impressive and well preserved pieces of Gandhara architecture in Pakistan. It is situated 14 km northwest of Mardan on the road to Swat (2 ½ hour drive from Islamabad). The reputation of Takht-e-Bahi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is based partially on the extraordinarily good state of preservation and partially on its glorious location. The site itself is located on the northern flanks of a rocky spur rising 150 meters (500 ft.) above the plains.
Comparative Cultures: Transition: A Retrospective Journey
Sunday, 8 November 2020
“I go through phases where I don’t understand anything, but it’s not disturbing, it’s just a matter of surrender; surrendering to the fact that there’s nothing for me to understand.”
Join Shaykh Habib Chishti, is a Sufi Teacher, Ethnomusicologist and Spiritual Musician, for a ‘reflective’ evening. The dialogue will be coupled with a musical rendition of ‘Zikr.’