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Art & Culture

Pakistan’s Daachi Foundation: Celebrating the country’s heritage one wildly-popular event at a time

Trinket boxes with intricate carvings and hand painted details. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Colorful pottery. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Hand painted rolling pins. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Hand painted Peshwari chapals. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Traditional stone and silver rings, worn across provinces in Pakistan. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Hand painted decor for the home. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Mirror work. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
A craft project displayed at the event. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Metal and paint truck art inspired work put on coasters. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Etched clay plates. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Traditional khussay, shoes worn by women as traditional dress in Pakistan. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Handmade and embroidered stuffed toys. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
LAHORE: The 11th edition of the Daachi Arts and Crafts Exhibition took place this past weekend at the Qasr-e-Noor Community Center in Model Town, Lahore. The non-profit Daachi Foundation strives to bring to the forefront Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and history through preserving and exhibiting its craftsmanship.
In a time where fast paced and instant gratification outweighs the patience for intricacy, craft industries dominated by master artisans are increasingly threatened with extinction. Daachi’s exhibitions aim to bridge the gap between consumer and artisan.
Pakistan is home to a wide array of ethnicities, languages and approaches to everyday life. The craftsmanship that is used in carving a wooden stool, embroidering a regional style dress or painting a lamp all tell of the rich history of Pakistan and the tales of its many different people.
Since 2011, the Daachi market has grown exponentially. The founder of the organization, Ayesha Noorani, sought out beautiful venues to play host to the exhibitions, but it outgrew most spaces. Last year alone, the footfall for the event, which has developed a cult-like following, exceeded 10,000.
Daachi’s efforts have made Pakistani born and bred items must-haves in the country, growing the businesses of these artisans. A loyal fan base has been born as event after event brings with it a growing number of artisans from far and wide with exciting and innovative takes on centuries-old techniques. For artisans, who may find the investment expensive, Daachi provides them with transportation, free stalls and accommodation so that they can come purely to sell their hard work and help stabilize themselves as viable businesses.
Daachi is run by volunteers who are largely working professionals. “Whether they are art and design teachers or practitioners, architects and so on,” Sahar Atif of Daachi told Arab News that their goal is to “to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Pakistan and to have an individual identity for that culture.”
With over 11 events having taken place in the last six years, Daachi is looking to further expand its reach. They plan to establish an Artisans’ Village, a permanent shop and residential set up for artisans to sell their goods, engage with designers and teach their craft.

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