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Folkloristan exhibition - breathing digital life into Pakistan's cultural heritage

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

A free interactive exhibition, curated by Kolman Salman, comprising sixty-three traditional Pakistani tales meticulously translated into English, accompanied by digital art, music and physical exhibits.

Folkloristan began in 2021, the brainchild of Komal Salman, a graphic designer with a passion for storytelling, and a desire to revive and reinvigorate the Pakistani oral tradition.

"We have a question for you. What comes to your mind when you think of "ruins"? Remains, of a place once alive, once glorious. A standing memoir, of a glorious past. And the need to preserve, and protect. With oral literature in a wreck, at Folkloristan we intend to reconstruct palaces on the foundations of what we have left".

Within Folkloristan you'll find familiar tales, such as Ali Baba and Sinbad, alongside less well-known myths and fables from the Pakistani tradition. Each of them are accompanied by a piece of digital art, created by Salman herself. The pieces of digital art - along with a Spotify playlist, curated by Salman - create an immersive experience and offer visitors less familiar with Pakistani culture instant access to every aspect of these ancient tales. Each exhibit has a dedicated QR code, for you to scan and explore further.

There's also a section of the exhibition dedicated to hauntings and their role in creating a modern mythos. When a tragic death occurs in a building and it is believed to be haunted as a result, the simple act of stories and tales being told in local communities has led to new myths developing, many of them in entirely contemporary settings.

In addition, Salman introduces us to several of the demons, fairies and other characters who feature in Pakistani fables, offering fascinating context and backstories, bringing the vibrant characters to life.

Salman - like all of us, here at the Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic, believes myth and fable to be instrumental to the transmission of social values and cultural ideas:

"The stories we tell include the people we look up too, the values we wish to inculcate in our children, and the socio-cultural norms we wish to endorse or shun. It keeps our heroes alive, it knits together the scent of our grandma’s, the places we associate as home, and a world of imagination all together".

Folkloristan runs until 21st September 2023 and is entry is free. Donations to the Centre are, of course, always welcome.

Check out the Folkloristan website, here.

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