Photo exhibition on Sustainable Development Goals opens
By Haneen Rafi
KARACHI: The photo exhibition `Pakistan Sustaining Development: Human Stories through Photography`, comprising 102 photos divided into collections representing each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, opened at the Sadequain Art Gallery on Wednesday.
The SDGs aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
The exhibition represented different elements of Pakistani society; it aimed to capture the endurance and perseverance of Pakistanis, and bring people together to help Pakistan achieve credible and effective development in all sectors.
Mayor of Karachi Wasim Akhtar was present at the event and spolce about how the exhibition was a true depiction of Pakistani soci-ety. `We have to admit that it`s still a long way to go to achieve SDGs. We all have to work together in order to achieve SDGs.
He also assured all partners of the exhibition of the support of the local governments of Sindh to fulfil the SDGs` agenda in the province.
Poverty was an overt theme at the exhibition. The trialsand tribulations an average Pakistani faces were captured brilliantly. Photographer Nicolas Asfouri`s picture of an eight-year-old girl, a bonded labourer working at a brick factory on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, captured the essence of how children in the country suffered greatly and were deprived of their basic rights.
Vocational training andskilled labour, a way forward for Pakistanis, was also represented through photos showing the inner workings of the textile mill.1n small towns as in big, learning trade is a constant process, and students learn new skills to bettertheir future. The photo by A.
Majeed captured this essence with a young student learning wood carving at a voca-tional training institute in a small town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Vittorio Cammarota, director of the UN Information Centre, shared how the exhibition was an attempt to highlight the developmentissues in Pakistan, especially for the general public who might not be completely aware of them.`It is important to engage the public so that they too can help in achieving the SGDs as development is a joint issue that needs partnership. The public needs to learn how to help achieve the development goals in Pakistan.
Activists and trailblazers were also given space in the exhibit. In one shot the Pakistani transgender community protested in the streets of Karachi while in another, activists spreading the message of peace and tolerance were shown rehearsing their plays.
Children were very apparent in the narrative. One particular photo by Asif Hasan depicted the life of students in the country. Perilously travelling on a passenger bus on a highway in Islamabad, the image though displayed in a corner of the gallery, sent a powerful message regarding the unquantifiable price that children and parents pay for education in the country, many a time risking their lives in the pro-cess.
Amélie Herenstein, bureau chief Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Agence France-Presse (AFP), who helped select the photos, spoke to Dawn about the thought behind the exhibition. `This exhibition was created last year jointly with the United Nations and the idea was to show the work being done in Pakistan. The idea is to show our pictures to the general public because we usually don`t have access to the general public.
When selecting the photos, certain themes were taken in consideration, she revealed.
`We selected six photos for each of the 17 SDGs. As this is photo journalism, each picture has a message and tells a story.
The exhibition has been jointly organised by the AFP, the European Union, and the UN with support from the Embassy of France in Pakistan, UK Aid and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.