Shanaakht Festival to kick off on November 9

November 7, 2009

ShanaakhtIt may have brought forward an identity crisis of its own when the festival came to a rather unplanned end this April, but the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) and the festival volunteers have geared up to bring a new edition of the Shanaakht Festival next week. Scheduled to take place at the Imperial Gardens and Clifton Crossways in Karachi from November 9 – 11, the festival really does seem to be one of the more erudite events to take place in the latter half of the year.

At the press conference to launch the Festival, CAP’s president Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy said that true to the spirit of resilient Karachiites, they have “come up with a festival that will be bigger and better than before.” Joining Sharmeen on stage were Sheema Kirmani, Amean J, Omar Bilal Akhtar of Aunty Disco Project and a representative from Stillwaters Publishing. Sheema Kirmani put the festival into perspective – particularly for critics of social events going ahead in times of war – by drawing from the examples of Lebanon and Palestine “where art and performances went ahead despite civil war and fighting – it’s important to keep your sanity.”

So what’s on the bill? For one – all the events are free! There are a number of exhibits and talks that revisit Pakistan’s history. And if political history isn’t up your alley, there’s plenty of stuff to take your mind off the current state of the country: a exhibit of film posters from the sixties as well as three film screenings (including the classic Waheed Murad film Armaan) and literary evening organized in collaboration with Stillwaters Publishing. The event brings together six authors including Fehmida Riaz, Mohammed Hanif and Musharraf Ali Farooqui who will be reading from works that have inspired them. And for Karachiites starved for live music: Laal will be performing after the literary evening, while Noori, Fuzon, Aunty Disco Project and Taal Karisma will close the festival with a concert. Chinoy announced that there are a number of surprise artists slated to perform and this will be a musical collaboration that will include the Oral History Project that CAP has been working on. It all sounds tremendously exciting, and in times like these when we begin to look inwards to wonder whether we can ever learn from the mistakes and successes of our past, the Shanaakht Festival comes at an all-too-apt time.

– Saba Imtiaz

Photo by Naqeeb ur Rehman

Source: Instep Today