ISLAMABAD, FEB 6: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Pakistan, in partnership with the Government of Gilgit Baltistan, Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archaeology & Museums Department, and as well as local artists, arrangedanart and advocacy exhibition titled “Sculpted Whispers: Echoes of a Melting World”, as part of broader GB Winter Sports Festival, from 21 – 26 January. This was a public exhibition, held by the riverside in Shishkat, GulmitGojal, in Hunza district, engaging people from all walks of life including community members, policy makers, social activists, studentsand tourists.
“Sculpted Whispers” aimed to draw attention towards the urgent issue of melting glaciers, the need for climate action, and to foster a deeper understanding of the environmental challenges faced by the region. The exhibition themes included global warming, endangered species, the importance of trees, the role of individuals in society and protection of Mother Earth.
A team of five artists which included three men and two women, crafted eye-catching sculptures and calligraphy from ice, sand, river sediments and frozen stream, to illustrate the impact of human actions onClimate Change. AKAH’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers remained engaged in mobilizing community and increasing awareness and ensuring the personal safety of visitors at the event. Each sculpture went beyond artistic creativity, embodying the frozen wonders of our Earth, serving as poignant reminders of disappearing beauty due to global warming. Delegates including Secretary Finance-Gilgit Baltistan, Assistant Commissioner and District Commissioner for Hunza region also visited the art exhibition and appreciated the unique idea for raising awareness on such an important global issue.
During the exhibition, the AKAH Pakistan team also participated in a panel discussion arranged by the Government of Gilgit Baltistan at Khalti Lake on 24 January sharing a global perspective of Climate Change and its triggering factors, and its effects onGilgit-Baltistan and glaciers in North.
In a video message, Onno Ruhl, the General Manager- AKAH, said that “The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat is committed to working with frontline communities in high mountain areas like Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, Pakistan, impacted by climate change. AKAH’s goal is to help communities lead fulfilling lives amid escalating challenges, through blending local wisdom with scientific solutions.
Nusrat Nasab, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan, while speaking at the press conference at the inception of art exhibition, said that ” We are committed to addressing the profound impacts of unprecedented climate change on vulnerable communities. Sculpted Whispers is an innovative exhibition that offers a visually striking portrayal of the beauty of ice, sand and stone art, while highlighting the imminent realities of climate change, urging the audience to reflect on the fragility of our planet and inspiring action towards sustainable solutions.As we witness visible environmental transformations, AKAHreaffirms its unwavering commitment to tackling climate-induced challenges, andvulnerability and foster the resilience of communities in the face of adversity.”
The closing ceremony held at Khalti Lake, on the seventh day of the sports festivalwas attended by the Force Commander Northern Areas Major General Kashif Khalil as the chief guest, as well as representatives of government institutions, AKDN agencies, community, local and national tourists.
Art proved to be a powerful tool in communicating messages to people of all ages, cultures, and languages. Beyond the realm of art, “Sculpted Whispers” served as a powerful vehicle for environmental education, advocacy, and transformation. It provided a platform to spark conversations, inspire change, and leaves an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all those who experienced it.