Lahore Digital Arts Festival kicks off

LAHORE: The Lahore Digital Arts Festival held its inaugural ceremony at one of its main venues, the Lahore Museum, on Wednesday evening.

The four-day festival is a city-wide celebration of the emerging digital art scene in Pakistan, commencing on Oct 12 at nine venues in Lahore. During the inaugural ceremony, the organising team introduced the participating international artists and discussed the ambition behind this unique initiative, which is to celebrate the realm of art, technology, and everything in between.

Muhammad Usman, director of the Lahore Museum, stated that the blend of art with technology would surely open new avenues for future endeavors. Renowned artist Rashid Rana appreciated the organising team for their immense hard work in collaborating with international artists and the best local talent, presenting them together. This creativity, innovation, and technology will expand dialogues and increase art accessibility in Pakistan and South Asia.

Najamul Assar, the festival’s founding curator, said the festival would also serve as a launch pad for our extensive research report, which will be made public during the four-day proceedings.

“Culture needs spheres and spaces for experimentation, empowerment, and activities, as in the happiest case made possible here in Lahore by the many platforms of the Digital Arts Festival 23,” said Simone Lenz, director of Goethe-Institut Pakistan.

The festival will run from Oct 12 to 15 and aims to explore the dynamic intersection of art and technology. Up to 74 digital artists from 14 countries will showcase their cutting-edge work, pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling and interactivity. The festival will feature immersive digital installations, allowing attendees to experience art in new and innovative ways at 9 venues across the city.

workshop: Speakers of a workshop on ‘Gender Equality and Inclusivity’ on Wednesday demanded gender equality and inclusivity for empowerment of women and gender minorities in the workforce to build an equitable society.

Public Services International Coordinator Mir Zulfiqar Ali and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director Tahira Habib conducted sessions over the course of two days.

Mr Ali stressed that women’s active participation in organizations, particularly in leadership roles, is pivotal in ensuring their fundamental rights and equal opportunities.

Ms Habib said that equal rights extend to equal opportunities and protection from discrimination based on personal characteristics.

She underscored the importance of the ongoing struggle for gender equality, emphasising the need to create equal economic opportunities for women, increase women’s participation in all aspects of society, and prevent violence against women and girls.

She highlighted issues such as unmet women’s needs, marginalized rights, lack of access to daycare, wage disparities, and various forms of harassment experienced by women in their work environments.

Other speakers recommended that Pakistan, currently experiencing a demographic dividend, can only fully capitalize on these benefits by mainstreaming gender sensitivity in the workplace.

They called for policymakers, employers, women, feminist researchers, activists, and labor advocates to initiate a dialogue on the potential impacts of increased digitization and automation on women workers.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2023

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