Maryam Rashid Wins Well Deserved Award
By Anila Ali

Atiya Khan, Maryam Rashid, Ayesha Kamran and Anila Ali
Ayesha Kamran, Atiya Khan and Tehmina Jesrai (board)
Sara Ali and Meher Kamran perform the Luddi

This year the International Festival of Harmony was held at the Laguna Festival of Arts Grounds in Laguna Beach. The South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency (SAHARA), a non-profit organization, organized this culturally enriching and harmonious event. The festival's goal was to promote cultural understanding for the South Asian countries. The Pakistan Arts Council of The Pacific Asia Museum's dedicated team artistically represented Pakistan in a classic display of Islamic calligraphy. On display was a unique selection of Islamic art from Amin Gulgee's sculptures to Sadequain's exquisite imagery of Sura Rahman. At hand to explain the traditions of Islamic calligraphy to the visitors was the President of The Pakistan Arts Council, Atiya Khan. "In the Islamic tradition, calligraphic art is the preeminent mode of artistic expression.

Taimur Jesrai, Faizan Mehdi, Jibran Shoro, Abbass Husseini, and Saqib Dadi

The master calligraphers who followed this tradition are revered and respected throughout the world, like Sadequain," explained Atiya Khan to a guest. You could see the amount of careful consideration that had gone into the historical pieces that were on display. "Adjacent to the works, vital information and translations are posted," pointed Ayesha Kamran, the Vice President and President Elect. Behind the success of the exhibition was the entire board of the Pakistan Arts Council of the Pacific Asia Museum, namely Shaila Andrabi, Kishwar Jaffer, Tehmina Jesrai, Ghazala Shauk, and Zara Shah. "We wanted visitors to see priceless pieces of art from our Islamic tradition," said Ayesha. "Calligraphy is taught master to student, one on one, using the Islamic concept of ‘taqlid’; that is, the belief that proficiency is attained by following the best existing examples," explained Ayesha to a Bangladeshi student of Fine Arts. Feeling enriched and vibrant, the visitors to the Pakistan stall walked away with a better understanding of our cultural heritage. Throughout the day, lively performances from famous singers, dancers, and musicians, thrilled the audience. The eclectic mix of talent, whimsy and unending energy was most felt when the young Pakistani boys and girls performed a traditional "bhangra" and "luddi". The audience was so moved that they joined the performers on the stage. The President of SAHARA gave a very well deserved award of appreciation to Maryam Rashid for her years of outstanding community service. Maryam Rashid received the award and thanked SAHARA for its dedication to the community.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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