A look at the 'hidden treasure' that is the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020

A look at the 'hidden treasure' that is the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020

The pavilion showcases a 'rich tapestry' of the country's art, culture and tradition, curated by renowned artists and creatives.
06 Oct, 2021

There is a lot of hype about the Pakistan Pavilion at the Dubai Expo on social media and for good reason. While the colourful facade of the pavilion has been grabbing everyone's attention, the exhibition inside even better, showcasing the country's rich heritage of art, culture and traditions curated by a mix of renowned artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians.

People from around the world have flocked to Dubai to attend the Expo 2020 which opened on October 1 and will last till March 31, 2022, under the theme of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'. It is the biggest event held in the region since the pandemic began. The expo hopes to display architectural marvels and technological innovations, following in the foot steps of historic World Expos that have been held in the last 170 years.

A total of 192 countries have participated in the Expo, including Pakistan, as it is an opportunity to showcase opportunities in tourism, commerce and investment. Pakistan's theme at the Expo is 'The Hidden Treasure', showcasing "our people, history, culture, places & economic potential" meant to "amaze the world".

The showcase is an amalgamation of various thematic exhibits, principally curated by artist and designer Noorjehan Bilgrami. "The narrative of the Pakistan Pavilion reflects the poetic way in which the past, present and future are woven together as a tapestry that reveals the rich and layered history, culture, people and traditions of this land, while also highlighting the immense potential and possibilities it holds for the future," Bilgrami said, according to the Expo website.

The Pakistan Pavilion's official social media handles give viewers a glimpse into Bilgrami's work at the Expo.

The pavilion's facade has been designed by artist Rashid Rana. The "hypnotic design" is meant to "represent the multifaceted sides of Pakistan, from seasons to culture".

Architect Shahid Abdulla also worked on the facade and his work was driven by purpose. "We have to change the image by saying the truth [about] what Pakistan is all about," he said.

Inside the Pavilion, visitors get to witness an intricate hand-drawn timeline, dating the history of our land all the way back to 7000 BC, up till 1947. The timeline has been created by artist Naveed Sadiq.

Awaiting the visitors is also an installation by artist Affan Baghpati "inspired by the minarets" in sacred spaces.

Filmmaker Jami has also contributed to the exhibition. Visitors can explore work by him and his team at Azad Films who have "captured the unique spirit of Pakistan’s sacred spaces at the many mosques, shrines, temples, gurudwaras and churches found across our country".

Music producer Rohail Hyatt, who helped bring Coke Studio Pakistan to life, created the official soundtrack for Pakistan's exhibition. "I was tasked with creating a soundtrack that depicted the country's traditional as well as contemporary sounds," he said on Instagram. "It was clear that we had not set out to make songs, but instead, wanted to create something rich, with various musical styles of Pakistan. Thus was born the idea of an inclusive and abundant soundtrack, featuring classical, folk, Qawali; showcasing the cultural heritage of our great country."

Here's Lala-e-Sehrai (Flower of the Desert) created by Rohail Hyatt for the pavilion.

Award-winning filmmaker, cinematographer and producer Jawad Sharif and his team "travelled all across Pakistan, from Tharparkar to Gilgit, to film the unique, indigenous craft traditions of Pakistan" for the Pakistan Pavilion at the Expo.

Twitter has been all praises for the Pakistan Pavilion as people express their excitement at what they've been able to witness so far. "The gorgeous Pakistan pavilion at Dubai Expo!" a user tweeted.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also shared her thoughts on the pavilion.

"Congratulations to the team led by Noorjehan Bilgrami responsible for curating the Pakistan pavilion at the Dubai Expo. The pavilion has been getting rave reviews from visitors all around the world," lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir posted on Twitter.

"[The] pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai brilliantly showcases the great beauty and diversity of Pakistan’s landscapes & people," tweeted British diplomat Iona Thomas.

The Pakistani curations look stunning enough for us to seriously consider taking a trip to Dubai just to see the pavilion. It is a brilliant glimpse into Pakistan's rich heritage and the work that has gone in is definitely worth the hype on social media.


1000 Characters
Zulfiqar Oct 06, 2021 03:51pm
I wish they didn’t have the bridge in the middle or covered it up with the same shiny shingles. Although overall it’s a stunning design.
NYS Oct 06, 2021 04:06pm
Thrilling montage into diversity Remind you mosaic art is our recognition
Aasma Oct 06, 2021 04:22pm
Topic was future, technology, connecting minds, no focus was given over it like other country hit pavilions, our pavilion was instead focused on past
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Oct 06, 2021 04:38pm
Great move and wonderful news.
Shahzad Oct 06, 2021 05:01pm
Looking wonderful. Should be brought back so locals can see it too.
Neutral Human Oct 06, 2021 05:20pm
Wonderful.. kudos to all involved...
Jamil Soomro, New York City Oct 06, 2021 05:38pm
This is totally stunning outstanding work by Ms.Noorjehan Bilgrami. My congratulations to her for this spectacular display. She truly deserves an award for making us Pakistanis proud of our country.
LgbtqX Oct 06, 2021 05:42pm
Any technological items displayed.
Shyam Kokku Oct 06, 2021 06:06pm
Well done!
Sachin Oct 06, 2021 06:23pm
Nice pics :) ...
Tamilselvan Oct 06, 2021 06:35pm
All the best on showcasing products and to show what Pakistan has to offer
Rana Talukdar Oct 06, 2021 07:13pm
Awesome. This may help Pakistan rebranding itself as a normal state.
Syed Hafeez Imran Oct 06, 2021 09:22pm
wow ! Great effort Really outstanding and deserves all the kudos Makes us proud
Zak Oct 06, 2021 10:51pm
Pakistan is a unique country and exhibits its uniqueness in the pavilion.
N. Rahim Oct 06, 2021 11:06pm
Wow! Awesome and amazing. Thrilled with work.
Sid Oct 07, 2021 12:01am
Helping hands Oct 07, 2021 01:25am
Kudos! So glad that Pakistan has upped its game in marketing and promoting itself!
Anuj Oct 07, 2021 01:36am
Good use of artistic talent, v nice facade and lighting.
Irshad Tayebji Oct 07, 2021 07:36am
Whi pays for all this ? How much of the money was "eaten away" and parked offshore ? The art is beautiful, but will it lead to more exports, to get the foreign exchange, to pay our bills.
Lily Oct 07, 2021 09:51am
Wow! Kudos to all those involved in this project of representing our gorgeous land and the utterly beautiful people here!
Firangi Oct 07, 2021 10:12am
Why is it a hidden treasure when it is an expo?
Alishba Oct 07, 2021 11:32am
The exterior looks like iridescent cellophane plastic sheets. Should have used something modern, expensive, technology driven like the theme at the expo.
Tadka Oct 07, 2021 05:31pm
@Aasma good point....past was better than present n future
Anees Ahmad Khan Oct 07, 2021 09:46pm
Great design very imposing architecture and extremely attractive set up inside is inspiring and beautiful.congratulation all who undertook this gigantic task.
Anees Ahmad Khan Oct 07, 2021 09:49pm
Very inspiring ,imposing and extremely attractive pavalion.Congratulation to all who undertook this challenge.
Anees Ahmad Khan Oct 07, 2021 09:49pm
Excellent job done.
Aiza Oct 08, 2021 12:58am
@Rana Talukdar Pakistan is unique, nothing less.
Multani Oct 08, 2021 12:23pm
Stunning display of our past, congratulations on job well done.
Hammad Oct 10, 2021 03:58pm
@Aasma exactly , the whole idea behind the expo is introducing new technologies .