Two photo exhibitions held at Alhamra Art Gallery.
Paper Miracles, in collaboration with the office of the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, organised two photo exhibitions at the Alhamra Art Gallery that concluded on Sunday.
Shattered Colours by Japanese photojournalist Kenjiro Sato showcased 20 images captured during the 2005 earthquake relief operation in Pakistan. The event was held to mark the 10-year anniversary of the catastrophe. Sato works for Japan’s The Mainichi newspaper.
“It is an honour for me to display the pictures I took 10 years ago. My pictures are showing people what happened then,” said Sato, who was born in 1970 in Oita Prefecture.
“My first trip to Pakistan was 10 years ago to cover the earthquake. I reached the area two days after the earthquake. The devastation was severe. During my three-week stay I covered Mansehra, Muzaffarad and other areas. As a journalist one has to convey the harsh realities that are seen on the ground. I wanted to help the survivors by telling their stories through my camera lens. I saw that the people were resilient, especially the children. So I focused on them,” he said.
Sato has been working with The Mainichi since 1994. His coverage of the Pakistan earthquake earned him the prestigious Newspaper Associations Award back at home.
Elli Takagaki, the Paper Miracles CEO, was pleased to see the turnout at the exhibition. “Many people asked why we were conducting an exhibition on something that happened 10 years ago. I told them that I am from Japan, a country that knows earthquakes very well and knows how devastating mother nature can be. I was not here when it [the earthquake] occurred in 2005, but I do remember the feeling I felt when I saw the news. It was the same feeling I had when I heard about the tsunami that hit my country in 2011,” she said.
“Paper Miracles works with women who had became paraplegic due to the earthquake. I cannot think of a better way to pay tribute to these hardworking women than by displaying the amazing work by Sato. He not only captures the magnitude of the devastation, but also the hope that was seen in the survivors,” she said.
The second exhibition was titled: Colours of Pakistan – Through the Eyes of Diplomats. Thirty-three photographs taken by diplomats of 27 countries were displayed at the event. The images were for sale to raise funds for paraplegic women.
Ahmed Sherazi, the honorary consul of Japan in Lahore, and E Rodolfo J Martin-Saravia, the ambassador of Argentina and the Diplomatic Corps dean, were also present.
“Nature can be friendly and ruthless. As one walks down the hall and looks at Sato’s work, one realises how ruthless it can be sometimes,” said Shirazi.
“I have been in Pakistan for the past 11 years. I am grateful to people for putting together these exhibitions. It is really amazing and its vision is really important. Sato’s photos give a testimony of what happened, the survival and loss of people. Most importantly it shows how resilient the people of Pakistan are. His photos show how the community came together at the time of such devastation. The second exhibition was also a great way of paying tribute to the beauty of Pakistan,” said Rodolfo.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.