KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) organised an exhibition featuring portraits of Quaid-e-Azam painted by a renowned artist, Prof Saeed Akhtar, to commemorate the 143rd birth anniversary of the founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on December 25.
Addressing the gathering, SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa said that it was a matter of pride for the bank to organise the exhibition by the master portrait maker, Prof Saeed Akhtar. He said that the exhibition was a humble attempt to pay tribute to the father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and to recognise the services and genius of the finest creative portrait artist of Pakistan. He expressed contentment that the SBP Museum was working as a living, interactive, state of the art institution imparting knowledge for the benefit of the public and working to preserve history.
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Further, the Governor informed the audience that SBP had decided to move to the next phase by initiating a programme to exhibit art and artefacts borrowed from sister museums and various other institutions. He especially thanked other government institutions for allowing SBP to borrow artefacts to hold this exhibition.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Husain, while speaking on the occasion, appreciated the unique way of celebrating the birthday of the Quaid. He said that everyone should try to follow Jinnah's principles of unity, faith and discipline.
Prof Akhtar said that that being an 80-year-old man, he felt pride presenting his lifelong work at the exhibition. He said that he began his career in Karachi. Prof Akhtar added that all of his portraits of the Quaid had been gathered from various organisations from across Pakistan for the exhibition.
The artist developed a fascination for portraiture early on in his life and was in charge of the Printing Press Quetta. He proved to be one of the best students of Shakir Ali and later in his life, played an important role in the promotion of art and art education in the country. His hard work, dedication, perseverance in the disciplines of drawing, sculpture and painting have inspired generations of Pakistani artists, marking his lifelong meritorious services.
Heads of commercial banks, diplomats and art lovers of the city attended the event. The exhibition will remain open to public for the next two weeks.
Reviving Jinnah's message
HIVE Pakistan - a social development organisation - screened a holographic speech of the Quaid-e-Azam at four different venues in Karachi on Monday. The screenings were part of a campaign, AIK - Better Together, to invigorate a sense of social cohesion among Pakistanis which extends beyond religious divides. As part of this campaign, HIVE Pakistan researched over a hundred speeches of the founding father and created a 'master-speech' using his words.
The speech was a collection of various speeches from The Quaid from when he addressed the nation during and after the creation of Pakistan. The purpose of the holographic speech, as per the campaign, was to remind and reawaken the values of brotherhood, tolerance, and unity. The screenings were attended by people from varying socio-economic backgrounds as well as different age groups, genders and religions.
"It's exactly what our grandparents have told us about Jinnah; his speeches were attended by the poor and rich, Christians and Muslims, men and women, and everyone would be mesmerised [by his words]," said a college student attending the screening.
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Before the speech, young artists and musicians serenaded the audience with renditions of national songs such as Dil Dil Pakistan. Prior to the screening, there were also workshops on countering violence and extremism which were attended by young men and women. The purpose of the workshops was to engage participants with discussions on violent extremism, social cohesion, peacebuilding, and women empowerment. There were a total of five workshops conducted.
The team of AIK - Better Together has organised four screenings in Kasur and Swat as well. They also intend to tour other cities of Pakistan and hope to spread the message of the founding father, which they have gleaned from over a hundred of his speeches, further in hopes of reviving his spirit among the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2018.