In the recent past, four of Pakistan’s prominent women artists/activists have passed away. Those women are Sabeen Mahmud (activist, murdered in Karachi), Fahmida Riaz (poet/activist), Asma Jahangir (lawyer/HR activist), Madeeha Gauhar (Theatre actor/director/producer). We have not had the chance to mourn their deaths or to celebrate their lives even though each one of them, with many others, had stood up to the oppressors and had dedicated her life to ‘naming the unnamed’ in the face of adversity.

Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), in collaboration with South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) and Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), is honored to produce a memorial program to present the four women’s lives and their life long contributions to Pakistani society and to international women’s movements.

The program is perceived in the larger context of the country’s politics and international misogynistic societal structures, and, it strives to connect and engage local audiences around the commonality of women’s experiences where national boundaries become irrelevant as we connect across cultures and continents. The project will:
Provide basic information about featured Pakistani women, their politics and struggles; Acknowledge the women’s bravery and creativity, and encourage further work on their lives and contributions
Celebrate the lives of women who continue to engage and create in the fields of art, activism, poetry, theater in Pakistan and right here in Metro Vancouver
Connect women across countries and continents, languages and cultures, religion and ethnicity, classes and statuses, by being inclusive in this celebration
Present a creatively conceived program that honors women in a dignified and artistic manner
Open the possibility of incorporating local histories of women in a neighborhood/ town/ university/factory/community/county within the performance, and connect the universal with the particular of each space/audience in a seamless storytelling.
Create a program video to be screened anywhere in the Diaspora.
Explore building a network of women of South Asian/Indigenous/Black/other marginalities through arts and activism, and to re-imagine the pulsating, vibrating, living alternative desi diaspora intersectional worlds.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.