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The grandeur of Makli

The grandeur of Makli

KARACHI: To highlight the importance of restoring cultural heritage to its past glory, an exhibition titled Grandeur of World Heritage Makli is under way at the Foundation of Museum of Modern Art (Fomma), DHA. It is commendable on the part of the organisers, Fomma and The Heritage Foundation, for coming up with the idea because apart from preserving and restoring historic sites, raising awareness about them is equally — if not more in the context of Pakistani society — important.

The primary objective of the exhibition is to showcase how conservation work on the 16th-century tomb of Mirza Jan Baba can “help create a dialogue between local communities, their cultural heritage and folklore traditions”. After all, it is the local communities that are first and foremost directly linked to them.

There are more than two dozen pictures on display and they capture both the significance of the restoration process and the architectural glory of yesteryear’s structures. The show begins with an archival photo (1890) of the abovementioned tomb. A touch of sepia lends a distinct feel (of the past) to it. Another black and white archival image of the tombs of Mirza Jan Baba and Isa Tarkhan II, taken years later, further enables the viewer to understand how the buildings used to look like in order to place them in the context of the history of the region.

A set of noteworthy pictures provides the before-and-after restoration views from different directions — north, northwest, southwest, southeast — of the graves, along with the before-and-after images of the cupolas of the graves’ pavilion. They are striking photographs and reinforce the significance of preserving and restoring monuments and buildings that belong to our past. The days gone by are important because they tell us where we were and where have we now reached.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2017

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