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

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Trinket boxes with intricate carvings and hand painted details. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Colorful pottery. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Hand painted rolling pins. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Hand painted Peshwari chapals. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Traditional stone and silver rings, worn across provinces in Pakistan. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Hand painted decor for the home. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Mirror work. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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A craft project displayed at the event. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Metal and paint truck art inspired work put on coasters. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Etched clay plates. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Traditional khussay, shoes worn by women as traditional dress in Pakistan. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
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Handmade and embroidered stuffed toys. (Courtesy Daachi Foundation)
Updated 16 November 2017

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

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.

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Yara Shahidi honored with Spotlight Award

DUBAI: Actress and social activist Yara Shahidi was honored with an award at the 25th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Celebration on Monday and took to the stage to give a speech.

The Iranian-American star of TV show “Black-ish,” who has her own spinoff show called “Grown-ish,” was given the Calvin Klein Spotlight Award at an event attended by the likes of Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

The 18-year-old Harvard University student is one of a star-studded list of honorees, including Lady Gaga, Shonda Rhimes and Mia Farrow.

The event also celebrated the female cast of “Black Panther” — Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o — at the event in Los Angeles’ Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Shahidi sat down with the magazine for an in-depth interview published in its November 2018 issue. The teen, who hails from a highly accomplished family — one of her cousins is the rapper Nas, while another, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Iranian-American astronaut — covered everything from women in Hollywood to her political activism.

“We’re holding people accountable for their actions. There’s an intentional knowledge disparity in any industry, which is tied to the maintaining of power. I love the fact that this community of women is disintegrating that. I’ve been able to reap the benefits of it, and I’m also fortunate to have my parents with me, guiding me,” she told the magazine.

Shahidi has talked openly about her family in the past, including in a revealing social media post about her parents during the uproar about the proposed US immigration ban in 2017.

“If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers,” she posted on social media at the time.

The actress has been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud Black Iranian” on Twitter.

In her most recent interview with Elle magazine, the actress expands on what causes are close to her heart.

“Immigration, gun control. There’s been a lack of humanity, especially in the policies of these past two years, policies that alienate minorities,” she said.

Lady Gaga was also awarded at the ceremony, and took to the stage to give a powerful, emotional speech about being a survivor of sexual assault.

“As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants,” she said at the event.