ISLAMABAD, Dec 7 (APP):Peter Bussian, United States author, photographer and visual artist on Saturday urged residents of US and the western countries that they should view Pakistan with renewed outlook as the country had strongly resurged from the scourge of terrorism and extremism of the past and moving on the path of progress and prosperity.

Peter Bussian, recently participated in 13-day long International Islamabad Art Festival (IIAF) 2019, talking to APP about his experience, he said that it was a biggest surprise for him as very high level artwork was showcased by renowned Pakistani visual artists such as painter Jamil Naqash, Najma Sura and Tanweer Farooqi, followed by 34 countries artists performances.

Peter Bussian showcased his two exhibitions at IIAF-2019 titled “Passage of Afghanistan –from his book “Trans New York” his recent project of photographing transgender people in New York City.

He said that he had presented the Afghanistan work many times and done readings of the book so that part was easy, adding that the transgender work was more difficult since he had never exhibited or talked about those photographs and the whole project was very new to him.

He said that his first book “Trans New York will be published in May 2020.

“Within the context of the theme of IAF 19, the Afghanistan work represents tradition and the transgender work represents modernity. Also – I realized that I became interested in the transgender issue after having become quite jaded regarding my many years of photographing refugees (which Afghanistan is part of) and began to wonder if these types of photographs have much impact anymore.

I now believe my photographs from within my own society highlighting the transgender issue might be more impactful” he said.

He said that he was luxuriously spent hours wandering the galleries and looking at the art and evenings being entertained by performing artists from Pakistan and other countries.

Peter Bussian said that the best thing for the Pakistani people was that all of this was free to them.

“That was a great gift by IIAF-2019 had given to country. In my eyes – Chief Curator IIAF19 was a real life hero of Pakistan” he said.

He said that transgender people in the United States and many other countries are the most deprived group of people and represent the front line of civil rights.

“I don’t understand this at all – whether they are viewed them from a secular, humanist point of view or a religious point of view – they, like all people, deserve respect and protection in all of our societies” he said.

He said that interestingly, transgender people in Pakistan have a very old and respected position and had roles in weddings and as entertainers and other events.

“While today they are still facing discrimination in most countries but they have full protection under Pakistani law – which was one of the first countries in the world to grant this” Peter Bussian said.

Peter Bossian said that nothing can connect us better than art and culture because it has the unique ability to pierce the human heart and change people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

He said that our two countries (Pak-USA) are natural allies and he would like to see the US government support cultural and artistic ventures in Pakistan such as this that will do more than anything to combat perceived extremism in both countries.

He also praised fellow Americans Charlene Carey and her crew from Ballet Beyond Borders USA Montana, who participated in Islamabad Art festival.