Daalaan is a part of Abwaab (‘doors’ in Arabic), a platform where countries including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Pakistan, Jordan, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia have displayed installations depicting the theme of Games – The Element of Play in Culture. Daalaan has been one exciting pavilion where major artists of the project, collaborating with other emerging and prominent designers of the field, have displayed an array of artistic furniture, sound installations, silk screen prints and creative takeaways. The major designers include Mustafa Mehdi, Faiza Adamjee, Ali S. Hussain and Salman Jawed, while the rest of the team consists of creative designers and artists from fields such as Graphics, Textiles and Fine Art.
The table with the green marbles, designed in wood, represents the game of kancha, popular in Pakistani culture since decades. Also, as one of the most popular games, Ludo has been embodied by reducing the four houses and colors into minimalistic three-dimensional figures, combined to bring out the best in fusion design and material treatment. The Lattoo Stool, crafted solidly in wood, is a beautiful representation of Lattoo, a game that is extremely popular in our courtyards and streets, enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Screens, offset printing and dyes have been extensively used to make up the Daalaan Pavilion, portraying various other games such as Chham Chham and Chirya Urri, the nuances of our cultural elements, and the symbolic nature of our courtyards. Mixtures of hues, soft colors, and natural shades have been blended with fast hand-sketches, rendered onto final prints for the screens that have been mounted at the ceiling of the pavilion. “Our artists have experimented with various organic shades, ranging from henna to terracotta, to achieve the perfect ethnic, earthy tone that is reminiscent of our Wattan Ki Mitti (soil of the nation)”, says Salman Jawed.
There has also been extensive work on hand-casted terracotta tiles, fashioned as pittu blocks that are used in the respective game, with attractive designs and simple motifs displayed on them. These have been hand-painted by artisans at Hala, where the traditional blue colors, pottery, handicrafts made in wood and steel, and hand-painting are extremely widespread and characteristic of Pakistani history and heritage. These tiles were also given as takeaways to visitors, who were impressed by the quality and intricacy of their designs. Tiles have also been painted in terracotta shades with glazing and casting in the furnaces at Hala.
Sound compositions have been put up that play continuously in a mellow tone, transporting the viewer into the courtyard where the games and interactions form a dynamic cultural experience. “To tie up the whole experience, we intend to use sound in an unusual way; not as a composition or a song, but as alienated sounds combined in a sound map. From the loud whirring of rickshaws to the chirping of cuckoos, we want our viewers to subconsciously listen to the sounds of Pakistan”, says Salman.
The pavilion has met with extremely positive reviews. Appraisals pertaining to the International Dubai Design Week at FT Magazine, Design Milk, global online art resources such as Dezeen, and other international art blogs and magazines have highly praised this fantastic endeavor. Art and design blogs such as Blogger’s Canvas and The Mad Queen hail the project as “a refreshing experience” and “encapsulating images of moments and memories of the game”, respectively.
Daalaan has captured the essence of Pakistani culture – from embodying the manja in the process of flying a kite, to the sounds of our streets, the flick of the finger when spinning a latoo, the joy of winning kancha in an animated game, the ball breaking the tower of pittu, the sounds of birds chirping – and much more. The team has successfully managed to explore the “courtyard” in its basic form, and through that, offered a glimpse into the finer details of Pakistani society and culture.
All images have been provided by Faiza Adamjee and the ‘Daalaan’ Facebook page.
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