Tag Archives: Arts

In Baghdad Ruins, Remains of a Cultural Bridge

Reproduced from The New York Times


Published: May 21, 2010


BAGHDAD — Report No. 25, dated April 4 and written by Col. Qais Hussein, was clinical, the anonymous survey of an explosion in a city where explosions are ordinary.

 “Material damage: significant,” it declared of the car bomb that was detonated last month near the Egyptian Embassy, killing 17 people. “The burning of 10 cars + the burning of a house, which was in front of the embassy, with moderate damage to 10 surrounding houses.”

Colonel Hussein’s report didn’t mention the hundreds of books, from plays of Chekhov to novels of the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, stored in bags, boxes and a stairwell. It didn’t speak of the paintings there of Shaker Hassan, one of Iraq’s greatest, or the sculptures of his compatriot, Mohammed Ghani Hikmat. There was no note of the stone brought from an exile’s birthplace in Bethlehem that helped build the house as a cosmopolitan refuge bridging West and East.

Nor did Colonel Hussein’s report mention that the home belonged to Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, a renowned Arab novelist, poet, painter, critic and translator who built it along the date palms and mulberry trees of Princesses’ Street nearly a half-century ago and lived there until his death in 1994.

This is not a story about an outpouring of grief over its destruction. There were no commemorations, few tributes. As Fadhil Thamer, a critic, said, “People here have seen too much.”

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Filed under Identity, Iraq, Literature, Pakistan, Palestine-israel, Religion, Terrorism, USA, violence, war


Press release by the organisers

The 7th KaraFilm Festival – Karachi International Film Festival 2009 – which kicked off on February 4th, drew to a close on Sunday, 15th February, with an informal closing ceremony attended by celebrities, filmmakers, foreign mission representatives and film aficionados where the jury awards were announced. The closing ceremony, scaled down in size from the 6th KaraFilm Festival because of a resource crunch, followed a boisterous last screening of the feel-good American film “Mamma Mia!” based on the songs of the Swedish pop group Abba. The closing capped 12 days of screenings and events that showcased over 140 films from the 230 odd films initially selected. Films from some 44 countries participated in Pakistan’s premiere international film festival. Continue reading


Filed under Cinema

Int’l Performing Arts Fest Spotlights Liberal Pakistan

By Beena Sarwar (IPS)

LAHORE, Nov 18 (IPS) – Some 370 foreign actors, musicians, dancers
and puppeteers have defied the warnings of their friends, families
and governments to participate in an international performing arts
festival in Lahore, cultural capital of the world’s `most dangerous

The privately organised 12th World Performing Arts Festival, Nov 13-
23, showcases Pakistani and international dance, theatre, film,
music, and puppetry in the largest such event in the region.

This is the 26th international festival organised by the Rafi Peer
Theatre Workshop (RPTW), a group launched in Karachi in the early
1980s by the family of the late Rafi Peer, the Germany-
educated `grand old man’ of modern Pakistani theatre who died in
1974. His youngest sons, twins Faizaan and Sadaan, started out with
puppet and theatre performances in Karachi.

In 1992, they organised the first international festival in their
native Lahore, springing from artist Faizaan’s passion for puppets,
bringing together puppeteers from around the world. Since then, the
Peerzadas (literally, `Peer’s sons’) as the family is called, have
organised up to three international festivals a year, showcasing
puppetry, dance, music, and theatre. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, culture, Dance, drama, Pakistan, Society

Do not impoverish the National Academy of Performing Arts

Faisal.K writes in the News on the implications of the government slashing NAPA’s grant to one third of what it was

Three years ago there were only two countries in our region without an academy for the promotion of performing arts, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In 2005 the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) happily put an end to this misery in our neck of the woods at least.

To put it simply, NAPA represents an effort to take the unpolished raw coal of our society and through hard work, lots and lots of manhours and three whole years turns out glittering jewels of performing arts for us to enjoy as a nation. Yes, that is how long it takes to excel in a specific field of performing arts of which there are namely three, Music, Theatre/Drama & Dance. The amount of hard work and dedication required for each of these subjects is quite immense as witnessed by the fact that out of 50 enrollees for each discipline, the last graduating batch saw 9 students get over the finishing line per area.

Housed in the magnificent Hindu Gymkhana, the faculty for this academy is a quartet of immense power and experience, the chairman being Zia Mohyeddin and the board comprising luminaries like Rahat Kazmi, Arshad Mahmud and Talat Hussain, all grand masters in their own areas of excellence and proven stalwarts of our theatre, film and television fraternity. Continue reading


Filed under Art, culture