An exhibition of 93 pictures of Bashir Ahmad Kureshi, the first honorary chairman of the Lahore Museum, was inaugurated on Wednesday to pay him a tribute on his 16th death anniversary.
The pictures, mounted on an orange, three-faceted cardboard wall, have been displayed in the museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery.
Khwaja Khursheed Anwar, the Lahore Museum deputy director (administration), who worked under BA Kureshi from 1985 until Kureshi’s death in 1995, said it was the first time that a display commemorating Kureshi’s contribution had been organised.
These pictures show Kureshi welcoming and in conversation with dignitaries including Sadequain, Queen Farah of Iran, Presidents Ziaul Haq and Ayub Khan, Caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Federal Minister Maulana Kausar Niazi. Some pictures also show him speaking at events arranged at the museum and giving museum tours to various guests.
He told The Express Tribune that the pictures were selected from the museum’s reserves. On a question about missing picture captions, Anwar said that the pictures were not labelled or given captions as they would have made the display look “too informative.”
Anwar said that Kureshi was relevant to the Lahore Museum for his outstanding contributions. “In 1960s, the relevance of a museum was not well understood. The ethics to protect artefacts did not exist in Pakistan. He joined as the first honorary chairman of the museum in 1965 and authored a code of ethics for it.”
Anwar said that Kureshi also assisted the government to establish the Bahawalpur Museum in Bahawalpur (1976), Dir Museum in Chakdara (1970), and Sindh Provisional Museum in Hyderabad.
Kureshi served the Lahore Museum from 1965 onwards. After his retirement as chief secretary of West Pakistan in 1972, he worked for the museum full time. He acquired funds for the rehabilitation of the museum. From 1972, Anwar said, Kureshi only took up government assignments that allowed him to stay in Lahore and continue working in the museum.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Humera Alam, the museum director, and Syed Tahir Raza Hamdani, who will be the acting museum director for two months to cover for the director during her personal leave.
The pictures will be on display till September 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.