Festival of Arts & Literature 2013: A Project of Khayaal Creative Network in Collaboration with Alhamra Arts Council

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Khayaal Creative Network

[Pakistan, Thursday, 31st October’13]: 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 dayOn 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 with 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 Virk 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 Vasay Chaudhry, Javed Shaikh, Kamran Lashari and Bilal Lashari.  Furthermore, Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, the directors of critically acclaimed film “Zinda Bhaagjoin 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 Poor Rich Boy.

Other speakers and moderators participating in the festival include: Dr. Ajaz Anwar, Syed Babar Ali, Kishwar Naheed, Wajahat Malik, Salman Rashid, Raza Rumi, Mohsin Hamid, Mira Sethi, Sarmad Khoosat, Vasay Chaudhry, Javed Sheikh, Mian Ijaz ul Hassan, Moin Khan, Nayyar Ali Dada, Ira Hassan, Meenu Gaur, Farjad Nabi, Mekaal Hasan, Gul I Naukhaiz Akhtar, Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Virk, Intizar Hussain, Feryal Ali-Gauhar, Rashid Rana, Haseena Moin, Sarmad Sehbai, Ayesha Siddiqa, Adeel Hashmi, Mira Hashmi, Nighat Chaudhry, Zainab Omar, Samar Minallah, Nighat Rizvi, Omair Rana, Madeeha Gauhar, Zeba Bakhtiar, Riz Khan, R.M Naeem, Khaled Ahmed, Bilal Lashari, Kamran Lashari, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Rafay Alam, Quddus Mirza, Salima Hashmi, Ameena Saiyid, Neelam Hussain, Mukeet Salaam, Laila Rehman, Nabiha Meher, Tahir Jahangir, Khalid Masood, Salman Shahid, Majid Sheikh, Naila Noon, Sanam Taseer, Shahnaz Sheikh, Baela Jamil, Abdur Rauf, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Sethi, Farida Khanum, Dr. Ali Mehdi Hashmi, Zain Ahmed, Yasmeen Hameed, Anusha Riaz, Shaanze Shahid, Kamil Mumtaz, Zareen Rasheed, Nasreen Shah, Yaqoob Bangash, Naila Tiwana, Shirin Pasha, Zaheer Salam, Ali Kamran, Ayaaz Ahmed, Masud Hassan, Farida Batool, Abdullah Qureshi, Sara Zaman, Hamid Mir, Ajoka Theater and Poor Rich Boy. 

‘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 served 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.


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