September issue 2018
Pakistan’s Untold Stories
The entirety of this nation’s rich history is not lost, for some of it still roams the narrow corridors and hallways, up the stairwell and into the antiquated rooms of the now-restored 1930s home, that is ‘TDF Ghar.’ A project of The Dawood Foundation, TDF Ghar aims to “re-live the true spirit of residents of this old cosmopolitan city, when it was truly a city of lights, of wide leafy boulevards, of opportunity, of discourse, of harmonious co-existence, where tolerance was prevalent.”
Jewish pioneer-architect, Moses Somake, dubbed ‘the man who built Karachi,’ was honored by TDF Ghar’s most recent venture, ‘Exhibition On Moses Somake,’ which was opened to the public on August 10 and is scheduled to run till September. The exhibit showcases the various works of Somake in parts of pre-Partition India, that now constitute Pakistan. Held in TDF Ghar’s Numaish Hall, the project occupies three rooms, each telling its own tale of the mastermind behind some of this city’s most fascinating structures.
Entering the central room of Numaish Hall, one is met with a savvy piece of technology – the oculus rift, a pair of goggles through which virtual reality can be simulated. In this case, they were cleverly used to simulate Bai Virbaijee Soparivala (BVS) Parsi High School and Karachi Goan Association Hall – two of Somake’s greatest works. Plastered on the walls of the central room were detailed descriptions of the two structures, in which Somake’s contributions were made clear. In the second room, on the wall was a poster of Mules Mansion, built by Somake in 1917. Beside the picture of the historic structure was a text, which spoke about ‘Anglo-Oriental’ architecture – an essential part of Somake’s distinctive style– that was implemented in the construction of the mansion. The third room was perhaps the most informative and heavily decorated of the three. The centre of the room contained a 3-D timeline of Moses Somake’s personal and professional life, while the walls were used to screen slide-shows and display detailed posters of his architectural creations.
When a member of the TDF Ghar staff was asked what the aim of the Exhibition on Moses Somake was, he replied, “Moses Somake is one of Pakistan’s untold stories, so it is our job to tell it.”