KARACHI: Renowned Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari has won the prestigious Japanese Fukuoka Prize in the Arts and Culture category for this year.
Lari is the third Pakistani recipient of the Fukuoka Prize with qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and social scientist Dr Uxi Mufti as the previous winners. Established in 1990, the prize was founded by Fukuoka City of Japan. The awards are presented every year to honour the outstanding work of organisations, groups or individuals for the promotion and preservation of diverse cultures of Asia. The award aims to increase awareness of Asian cultures and to institute a broad framework for exchange and mutual learning among the peoples of Asia.
“I feel honoured to receive this award. It is indeed recognition for the good things happening in Pakistan,” said Yasmeen, the first woman architect of Pakistan, while speaking to The Express Tribune.
She said she was nominated by the Fukuoka Prize committee, which looked into her work in architecture, community development and its preservation for a specific length of time. “The cultural aspect of this country is very important to us. I’m grateful of Pakistan for giving me the opportunity to do things,” Yasmeen said.
Citation on the Fukuoka Prize states that Yasmeen has not only created many contemporary buildings but has also played a decisive role in the preservation and conservation of historical buildings, through the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, which she herself founded.
This year the grand prize of five million yen has been awarded to world-acclaimed Indian musician AR Rahman for his “outstanding contributions to the preservation and creation of Asian culture”.
Excited about her upcoming visit to Japan, where she will deliver lectures in high schools, the heritage conservationist said she was planning to take the traditional Kashi Kari work of Makli Goth to the people of Japan. “We can learn a lot from them (Japanese). Especially, the way they have maintained their traditions.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.