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December 24, 2018

Pakistani-American cultural commentator to conduct 12 talks in country


December 24, 2018

Islamabad : Culture, history and art of Pakistan might not be the priority of the government due to economic and security concerns but there are some dedicated overseas Pakistanis who are determined to keep the soul of Pakistan alive through research, lectures and literature.

Ally Adnan is one such well-known Pakistani-American cultural commentator who will soon be back in his native land to deliver his signature talks on culture, history, Sufism, and art of Pakistan.

The well-known art collector, cultural commentator, journalist, public speaker, and writer is an ardent supporter of the arts and one of Pakistan’s most successful cultural ambassadors. He is known for his talks which afford a great opportunity of learning for people looking to expand their horizons in the world of culture, history and art of this region.

A true renaissance man, Adnan is an expert in areas of classical music, dance, art, Sufism and Qawwali. His writings on classical music form a valuable treatise on the theory, culture and practice of music in India and Pakistan. He speaks on the radio, television, schools and research symposia, all over the world, on a regular basis. Adnan is known for his interactive workshops which he has conducted at a large number of prestigious institutions and schools, including the Asia Society Hong Kong, New York University, the University of London, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the National College of Arts, Lahore.

During his two-week visit, Adnan will conduct a total of 12 seminars in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, on a wide variety of topics that include Ghazal, Qawwali, jewellery, Kathak, classical music, and Truck Art. The hectic trip may not be everyone’s idea of a vacation but for Dallas-based Adnan, who does not ask for any fees for his talks, it is the best way to find relaxation and happiness.

“I love sharing knowledge of our culture, history and art with people in Pakistan,” he says with unbridled enthusiasm. “There is no greater pleasure than contributing to someone else’s learning and pleasure, even in a small way. The talks in Pakistan are always the highlight of my trips to Pakistan.”

Adnan’s seminars on Qawwali, one at Olomopolo Media in Lahore and the other at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, will feature demonstrations and performances by the young and promising Ghayoor-Moiz-Mustafa Qawwal. In the seminars, Adnan will trace the origin of Qawwali back to Vedic chants and discuss its evolution, through Zikr and Samaa, to the form established by Hazrat Amir Khusrao in the thirteenth century.

He will talk about the association of Qawwali with Islam, the various forms of Qawwali, both in terms of poetry and music, and the basics of classical music. The talks will also cover the significance, structure and decorum of the Mehfil-e-Samaa, explain the phenomenon of Haal, and explore the reasons behind the enduring popularity of Qawwali.

The seminars on Ghazal, one at Olomopolo Media in Lahore and the other at T2F in Karachi, will discuss the history and evolution of Urdu poetry, tracing its roots to pre-Islamic Arabia. They will cover the basics of music and discuss the ten (10) major styles of singing Ghazal – the Parsi theatre, Raag-Based, Thumri, Geet, Mujra, Qawwali, Batarannum Mushaira, film, Radio Pakistan, and PTV styles – and include biographical information of major Indian and Pakistani Ghazal singers.

Ally will talk about Kathak dance at events organized by the Asian Study Group in Islamabad, the Institute for Art and Culture in Lahore, and the Base Rock Café in Karachi. The multi-media presentation will cover the theory of dance as described in the Natya Shastra, the eight principal forms of Indian classical dance, the history and evolution of Kathak, the concepts of Laya and Taal, the influence of Islam on classical dance, and the styles, aspects and elements of Kathak.

The Children's Literature Festival has organized two talks on Pakistani Truck Art, one in partnership with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, at the National History Museum in Lahore and the other at the British Council in Karachi. These talks are geared towards younger audiences and will cover the origin and evolution of truck art, the process of decorating trucks, various regional styles, poetry and iconography used in trucks, and popularity of the art form. They will also include an exercise for participants. Ally Adnan, who also designs one-of-a-kind statement jewellery pieces inspired by Etruscan, Victorian, Hellenic and Greek jewellery, will be exhibiting his work at Olomopolo Media in Lahore and at T2F in Karachi.

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