LAHORE - Pakistan has rich cultural diversity and our focus is on giving admission to students from Balochistan and Sindh in all disciplines, says Institute of Art and Culture Vice Chancellor Prof Sajida Vendal.

Off 4 KM on Raiwind Road the Institute of Art and Culture (IAC) 20-acre campus has been established this year and the first batch is being enrolled in 10 disciplines. IAC is a Higher Education Commission recognized institute established by ACT XXXI, 2018 of Government of Pakistan.

IAC is offering admission in game design, animation, film and TV, architecture, interior design, landscape design, fine arts, graphic design, textile design and culture and development studies.

IAC is a brainchild of Sajida Vandal and Pervaiz Vendal, who have also been running publications, consultancy, and research firm Trust for History of Art & Architecture in Pakistan (THAAP).  “Encouraging and acknowledging the local and indigenous talent is the foremost priority of IAC”, Sajida said in an interview with The Nation on Thursday.

“Promoting indigenous architecture and handicrafts of remote areas of Punjab and other provinces is focus of our institute,” she said. 

Sajida urged the incoming new federal and Punjab government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to make a coherent cultural policy of country.

Stressing on the importance of establishing arts and culture institute, she said IAC was responding to the needs of the country. “Pakistan right now is just focusing on establishing sciences institutes and the art and culture are being ignored. There should be balance in promoting all disciplines of knowledge.

“We do have institutions like National College of Arts (NCA) but such institutions are the inheritance of our colonial past. Today the question is what our generation has contributed for establishing institutions where arts, crafts and culture are taught,” Sajida said. 

The IAC is provides insurance for students, staff and faculty members. “We have suffered a lot in government institutes for lack of employee oriented policies. So we at IAC want to make a long term relationship with our students and staff,” she said.

Sajida was born in 1947 at Shillong, Assam to a Punjabi-Seraiki speaking family and a daughter of brigadier in Indian army before Partition who also served in Pakistan army.

“Accepting the cultural diversity has been the most pinching debate in 70 year history of our country,” she was of the view.  

She shared her memories of Bangladesh. “A Bengali decent car-washer had done masters degree but he was doing a low-profile job. He was car-washer of my father’s black jeep,” Sajida sadly said. 

Sharing her childhood memories from her school life at the hostel of Sacred Heart School said the best message from my childhood was to accept the cultural diversity and make harmony with people of other faiths because this country belongs to all of us.

Sajida graduated from Kinnaird College for Women in 1965. Then she got a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the University of Engineering & Technology in 1970. Sajida served in NCA in Lahore as a lecturer and later as the college principal till 1997. She also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and UNESCO.