The ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 commenced on October 1, 2021, and the brilliantly designed Pakistan Pavilion with its theme ‘Pakistan’s Hidden Treasures’ has been making headlines for its outstanding architecture and planning
The ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 commenced on October 1, 2021, and the brilliantly designed Pakistan Pavilion with its theme ‘Pakistan’s Hidden Treasures’ has been making headlines for its outstanding architecture and planning. The pavilion covers eight key spaces depicting Pakistan’s rich culture, history, landscape, and religious diversity as well as wildlife, among others things. One of the pavilions is also dedicated to Pakistan’s responsible role in the global climate crises, displaying art installations related to the Billion-Tree Tsunami project.
As far as the facade of the Pakistan Pavilion is concerned, Rashid Rana, a leading artist from South Asia, meticulously designed the space to reflect the vivid, changing seasons that Pakistan experiences. In fact, it is one of the largest contemporary artworks of its kind that spreads out over 35,000 square feet. The artistic intervention, ‘Unity of All that Appears’, comprises 24000 seemingly identical but in fact unique pieces, slightly different from each other in size and colour.
According to Noorjehan Bilgrami, the Principal Curator of the Pakistan Pavilion, she spent two years working closely with Pakistan’s most talented artists and filmmakers, dedicated, and often unacknowledged master craftspeople, and local and international scholars who toiled selflessly towards highlighting Pakistan’s timeless beauty for the world to see. Moreover, visual artist Affan Baghpati has created an amazing installation inspired by the minarets in Sacred Spaces. The visual motifs of the Chaand-Taara and Surmadani Phooljaal have been scaled up to a monumental size.
There’s also a souvenir shop with art and craft works unique to Pakistan, allowing visitors to take home a bit of Pakistani culture. And that’s not all! One of the highlights of the pavilion is the official soundtrack ‘Lala-e-Sehrai’ – Flower of the Desert – which has been composed by renowned producer and composer Rohail Hyatt. ‘Lala-e-Sehrai’ is a contemporary adaptation of four distinct musical styles of Pakistan, highlighting the timelessness of our musical heritage.
Hyatt recently took to Twitter to thank Noorjehan Bilgrami, who co-created the pavilion with Interior Architect, Shahid Abdullah, for trusting him and giving him the opportunity to create the soundtrack. “Proud to have created the soundtrack for the Pakistan Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020. Noorjehan Bilgrami, Koel gallery, thank you for the opportunity, gratitude to the team and talent,” he tweeted.
The official description of the soundtrack on YouTube reads, “The track in its final form depicts a journey from classical, to folk and then Qawali. The traditional afternoon Raag Bhimplasi performed by Ali Akbar, makes its way to Thari folk sounds drawn from the Tharparkar region, delivered by legendary Mai Dhai of Sindh, reaching a devotional hiatus featuring Ali Akbar and Zain Zohaib Qawal Troupe.” It further states, “The track closes with the sounds of Pakistan; the motherland; its natural heritage from North to South, the cold mountain winds, ever-changing sky and renewed sea. The journey is encapsulated by the cloud-like vocals of Wajiha Naqvi and Zara Madani, and the recitation of Allama Iqbal by Arif Bahalim.”
The Pakistan Pavilion that saw around 8,000 people from around the world on the first day, according to Khaleej Times, will continue to demonstrate the history, culture and beauty of Balochistan for the entire month of October, while it is open for visitors till March 31, 2022.