Girls lead way in conservation of cultural heritage sites

cultural heritage
Naeem Niazi
LAHORE, Apr 02 (APP):Young girls have been leading the way in conservation and restoration of the Picture Wall, Sheesh Mahal at Lahore Fort and Wazir Khan Mosque as they are preserving these architectural relics for the next generations.
Most of these girls are seen perched on scaffoldings at the sites and work for hours. These fine arts graduates and conservation scientists work for the Agha Khan Cultural Services Pakistan (AKCSP) while some of them are interns of a US-funded project.
Girls lead way in conservation of cultural heritage sites
The 17th century Mughal-era Picture Wall, the largest in the world which spans over 1600 feet on the northern part of the Lahore Fort, is being restored to life after lying in decay for over a century. These young enthusiasts have been working diligently to breathe life into the decaying fresco work.
Talking to APP, Ayesha, an intern of the US funded internship program, said she is not doing the restoration and preservation work for the present but the future generation whether it is the architectural heritage from the Mughal, Sikh or the British period.
“The next generation will be able to look with awe the work we are doing today,” she said, adding the internship has provided her and others the opportunity to peep into history and preserve it for posterity.
Kinza, a fine arts graduate from the NCA, said it was challenging to work on scaffolding for hours but it was satisfying as well. “My job is to first clean a fresco and a mosaic and conserve the decaying part,” she added.
Leading the project at Wazir Khan Mosque, Meena Arham – a conservation scientist, said she has been overseeing the restoration work, new interns, architects and labor at the mosque and the Old City for over a decade for the AKCP and owes her thanks to the Agha Khan for the position of power.
She said, ‘Mosque, primarily, is a male-dominated space and presence of women here is something we are trying to change besides the restoration work.’
Another Conservation Scientist at the Sheesh Mahal restoration project of the Lahore Fort Zeina Naseer shared that it is, sometimes, intimidating to deal with all male labor at the site but she has done her task with aplomb. She said she is thankful to the AKCSP for providing her the opportunity to be part of a project which help others live the past.
The presence of girls at such projects, previously dominated by men only, gives us the hope that girls can shoulder all responsibilities side by side the men and achieve their dreams without much ado.
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