Culture cannot be imposed from outside or learnt in schools and colleges. It grows organically within. When we talk of culture we usually refer to particular customs and traditions of a region or country. Sir Edward B. Tylor wrote in 1871 that, “Culture or civilisation, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
Every country and nation has its own peculiar culture and Pakistan is very rich in terms of culture and tradition.
Pakistan is home to a large number of ethnicities and cultural groups, which makes for an interesting and diverse national culture. The country’s culture has been established over thousands of years, with many civilisations inhabiting the region helping to influence everything from cuisine and music to literature and art. One can safely say that Pakistani culture is an eclectic blend of many other regional cultures and this is evident in the country’s music, architecture and even its cuisine.
The culture of Pakistan also has great tradition of fairs and festivals. These fairs are held in all parts of the country, Pakistan enjoys great distinction in handicrafts at international level. Wooden furniture of Chiniot, sports goods of Sialkot and embroidery of Multan and Hyderabad is world famous. Pakistani culture includes excellent craftsmanship.
Pakistani truck art is not the only world-famous example of craftsmanship. Passed down through generations the Pakistani craft, it includes a plethora of styles, materials and aesthetics. Calligraphy in Arabic is one of the most prominent skills found in many local buildings and sites and wall hangings, like copper work, paintings and carved wood. Pottery, especially blue pottery, typical of Sindh and Multan, is loved all over the world for its look. Naqashi, or the art-making of camel skin lamps, is another example of local craft long with colourful tile work, which is a Mughal legacy.
The Art & Craft Exhibition:
To show the vibrant culture of Pakistan, Daachi Foundation organised a three-day art & craft exhibition, held recently in Lahore. It was a well attended event.
Ethnic furniture maker from Swat, Ghazi’s participation in Daachi Exhibition, has been a life changing experience for him. At the exhibition, his work garnered much appreciation and recognition, which in turn helped him expand his previously dormant business. Due to his success at Daachi, Ghazi was able to turn his financial situation around. After participating in the first exhibition for free, he was able to buy several stalls for the next exhibition.
Daachi Foundation is a non-profit organisation setup in 2010 by a team of dedicated volunteers in a bid to promote Pakistan’s cultural heritage, ideology and environment by promoting indigenous craftsmen and artists. The foundation found its footing through its well-known biannual Daachi Arts & Crafts Exhibition that takes place in spring and fall. The exhibition has continuously grown, and now acts as a platform, bringing together over 100 artists, artisans and entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan. Due to its dedication and accomplishments, Daachi has also recently been the recipient for the Engro Foundation ‘I AM THE CHANGE’ award.
The Art & Craft Village:
Whilst proliferating Pakistani culture and craft is the main goal of Daachi Foundation; the organisation also acts as a platforms for artist, artisans and craftsman. The Foundation is working on building an art & craft village where the ‘Ustaad’ is given his due respect and is able to teach, share and sell his craft.
The Daachi village will be completely sustainable in terms of design, construction and functioning. The dedicated food area will only host organic and natural food stalls. There will be a dedicated performance area, a museum and workshop area. Shops are also being constructed to ensure that people can experience Daachi throughout the year.
Shops can also be sponsored - while the signage belongs to the sponsor, the shop will host artisans from all over Pakistan. The village will be spread across 28 kanals, located near Thokar Niaz Baig and will be constructed with natural materials and embellished with crafts to capture the essence of our Pakistani eclectic folk architecture.