Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, has seen many ups and downs in the last ten years or so. People have been living in an environment was marred by ethnic and sectarian violence. Bad governance and poor civic management had compounded the problems and created a tense environment for the citizens of Quetta.
What worsens the situation is the lack of availability of any recreation and entertainment opportunities which people can use to temporarily escape from the hustle and bustle of life in the city.
Last Saturday, a photo exhibition was held after a long time in Quetta which allowed people of the city to focus on art and forget the routine problems for few hours.
Exhibition titled ‘Roshni to Tum Bhi Ho’ was held in Balochistan Art Gallery by Culture department of Balochistan in collaboration with Civil Society members.
In the two day exhibition, photos captured by eight photographers from Lahore were put on display for the citizens of Quetta.
Same group has conducted the exhibition of the photos in Islamabad and Lahore and also plans to conduct more exhibitions after Quetta.
Captured photos were of children from different parts of Pakistan who were underprivileged and some of them were victims of terrorism.
Photos were dedicated to the martyr students of terrorist incidents in Pakistan including students of SBK Women’s University Quetta.
Three out of the eight photographers attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition. People from all walks of life attended the ceremony and appreciated the photos put on display.
Zaheer Chaudhry, one of the photographers, was very delighted due to the positive response that they had got from people of Quetta. Talking to The Nation He said, “We want to give a message through our photographs that life of under-privileged children is much more vibrant as compared to privileged children.”
He further added that “We also wanted to highlight the plight of children victims of terrorism who do not know what was their fault.”
Balochistan Art Gallery was established in 1989 and surprisingly this was the first exhibition of its sort in the said gallery.
Abdul Waris, another photographer said that aim of their group is to collect pictures from all over Pakistan of the children who are battling for education.
He conceded that “there was a shortage of pictures from Quetta in the exhibition and in future we would ensure that our exhibitions also have them.”
Mr. Waris thanked people of Quetta for providng them with good opportunity to showcase their work.
“We are not leaving Quetta empty-handed but taking with us sincerity, love and honor that we have never witnessed before,” Mr. Waris told The Nation.
Aziz Jamali, Additional Secretary education, was one of the principal facilitators of the exhibition in Quetta.
He termed the photo exhibition a positive and subtle type of activity amidst all sound and fury around Balochistan.
“It's a step forward in projection of photography as a form of art. We've been doing and promoting other art forms in Balochistan but a photo exhibition is held for the first time in the history,” Mr. Jamali told The Nation.
He revealed that the theme of exhibition ‘Roshni to Tum Bhi Ho’ is inspired from Nazar Mohammad Rashid, the writer of famous poem, it urges the government to own all children for education in schools.
Exhibition lasted for two full days and people in large numbers paid visit to the gallery and appreciated the work of photographers.
Zia Khan, founder of Quetta Online group of Volunteers, said that exhibition was a wonderful event arranged after a long time. He added, “Art is already in darkness in Quetta as compared other cities of Pakistan and such positive activities must be arranged on local level to promote local photographers.”
Abdullah Baloch, Director of Culture Department was of the view that this exhibition allowed people from different walks of life to know each other. He said that “This exhibition will give a positive message to photographers coming from Lahore that not everything is bad in Balochistan and things are improving.”
Mr. Baloch vowed that this exhibition is starting point for further such exhibitions in future. “We also plan to hold similar exhibition for qualified painters of Balochistan and display their art about coastal life of Balochistan very soon, Director Culture told The Nation.
“This is first such exhibition of its kind and it will not be the last,” said Mr. Jamali with optimism.