Islamabad - Serena Hotels hosted a star-studded evening to launch SARANGI and to conclude the winners for the photography and music competition initiated by Serena. Both the photography competition and Sarangi are part of the hotel’s cultural diplomacy initiative which aims to protect and promote the cultural heritage of Pakistan and encourage young talents by providing them with a platform through which their efforts can reach a broader audience.

Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels, said: “Serena has promoted the arts and intercultural activities to inspire a culture of peace and hope. And we truly believe in giving recognition and platform to the emerging artists that need recognition. We have used our social media to introduce two competitions recently and have received a tremendous response from all over Pakistan. Tonight, we not only celebrate the winners but also the incredible creative talent that Pakistan possesses”.Sarangi – a musical initiative began with an online competition which allowed amateur bands to compete. The 3 winners were chosen by a professional jury panel comprising Ali Noor of Noori, music director Nizar Lalani and Sarmad Ghafoor.

The winners of the first SARANGI competition were Sannan Mehboob from Swat, Ahad John and  Band from Faisalabad and Gohar Nayab and Band from Faisalabad. The winners received a trophy, certificate and gifts from Serena Hotel and were given the opportunity to perform in the gathering of diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists and music lovers from Islamabad.

While giving the prize to the winners, CEO Serena Hotels also announced that the original song of each band will be recorded professionally to help the bands to promote themselves and to support their Talent.

The concept behind the photography competition was to give recognition to the emerging architectural photographers of Pakistan. The judges of the photography competition were Mobeen Ansari, Syed Mehdi Bukhari and Wajahat Malik who selected Minhaj Ahmad from Karachi as the winner of the Be the next Serena Photographer and Sakina Hassan, also from Karachi as the runner-up.

The evening concluded with a performance by students of the Leiflarsen Music Centre (LMC) and received donation from Serena Hotels to continue to progress in the field of music.