Shanaakht 2009

The Shanaakht festival kicked off at 3pm for the general public at the arts council today. I got there a little after 3pm as I had heard so much about it that I wanted to be among the first to check it out, I can safely say I did not leave disappointed as it was a brilliantly well put together festival celebrating art and artists of many genre’s for the people of Karachi. The Cap team which is the organization that made this all possible have undoubtedly put in months of hard work for this event and it showed today all over the arts council.

Sadly soon after I left some miscreants entered the premises and upon witnessing a mural they considered objectionable not only ripped it off the wall, but broke several things and other exhibits in the process. It was chaotic scenes for a while and some weapons also came to be involved. This is quite pathetic and by now everyone has seen the footage of what took place, it was totally uncalled for as the organizers appealed to them and apologized right then and are still doing so for their oversight. Breaking and damaging the other pieces and smashing windows sends only one message, that of absolute intolerance. However rather then dwell on this subject I would like to personally congratulate Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Amean J, Sitwat Rizvi, Sabeen Mahmud and all the others involved that worked tirelessly to make this festival happen. Even if it does not continue they have all shown us that when people get together and try nothing is impossible.

Here are some of the brilliant exhibits I saw

The Murals



Then & Now curated by Amean J

This photo exhibit featured photos from 1967 to the present era, the right side of the exhibit or the right wall was then and the left was the now side, quite impressive.



Some of the pictures were so real it seemed like I was staring through some sort of portal, it was mesmerizing.

Forgotten Paradise ( a collection of pictures taken by Iqbal Akhund of Kashmir)


Although most of these photos were taken with I would imagine a very old camera they were capturing in their natural beauty and had almost an ethereal feel to them

The Four Faces of Karachi (Mohammad Luthfullah Khan)


A priceless and personal photo collection depicting Karachi back in the days.

Sohni Dharti Exhibit


The 3d Cap Archive

Innovative and multi dimensional the CAP team managed to also put up a 3d presentation of various pictures from their archives jazzed up to make them look like they were popping out, complete with old style 3d glasses.


The T2F Booth


The T2F booth seemed like a pretty nifty idea and theme, it had coffee it had flavor and as Sabeen kindly pointed out it had 1400 kids visit this morning for art activities which they thoroughly enjoyed!!

Obviously if the festival goes on there is a hell of a lot more to come as aside from the exhibits there are book readings, oral listening projects, 3d art and graphics and plays as well as street theater. Lets hope the CAP team gets the support it needs for their efforts and the show goes on!!


The Shanaakht festival will continue today,Thursday, it will be open to the public after 3pm this afternoon. Please pass this message onto all your friends and please come out and show your support. Our hopes of uniting our people, our country remains the same. Come to show your support for Shanaakht, but more importantly for Pakistan. We will confirm events shortly.


As of now the festival has been canceled again, some fool released the objectionable photo on a facebook group and its public now, well done guys digital activism without responsibility leads to disaster for people who have worked months for this.

  1. To be honest, I was a bit cynical about this whole event. But just watching these pictures made me realize what a profound effect the whole event could have on one’s whole personality, ideology and thinking.

    Shanaakht 2009 is a brilliant initiative. Let us not bow to the pressure of any kind of intolerant entities; be it the talebans or the ‘liberals’ of PPP.

    The show MUST go on!

  2. I had been looking forward to this festival from alota days. Its really sad to know what happened there today. I hope things get better for CAP and Shanaakht.

  3. Even the 2007 event was pretty much of a success. They got things right in the debut event.
    These pictures suggest it was even better this time if that incident had not happened. 🙁

  4. Shanaakht is a great initiative. I was so looking forward for the concert to come with amazingly unbelievable bands and all for free but I don’t think that would happen now 🙁

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