The unique life of Kalash – Tribe of Pakistan

Several historians have written about the Kalash and most of them have linked them to descendants of the army of Alexander the Great since many of their rituals, customs and traditions are indicative of the way of life of the ancient Greeks.

The Kalash with their unique culture, traditions, rituals, values, festivals and attire are not be found anywhere else in the world. Kalash are considered ‘infidels’ and their habitations are known as ‘Kafirastan’ — the land of infidels — amongst the local Pakistani community. The Kalash valleys are located in Chitral in the northern district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.

They lead a centuries-old primitive way of life with a religion which has no name, no written book or prophets and are now concentrated in three valleys which are called ‘Kalash gooni’ among the Kalash and the ‘Kafir Kalash’ (land of infidels) amongst others.

But it is not just the place which fascinates, also the women of Kalash — who legend says are part-fairy and part-human because of their ethereal beauty. Local people say the Kalash woman can make a man lose his religion. As the story goes, when a Kalash woman drinks water, you can see it streaming down her throat. Yet they are considered impure in their own community; they are also called “whiter than the white”.

The Kalash feel threatened by the outside world as their number are dwindling with every passing day. Many Kalash are accepting Islam and the influence of other cultures. With more members of the community getting educated, people are also reluctant to follow their primitive traditions and rituals.

The tribe does not face any threat from militants but the pressure was more from members who are embracing Islam. “Though, no one forces them to convert, they are under constant pressure from their own converts to quit their way of living,”

There are less than 4,000 Kalash left. 3,554 to be precise when the last count was done in 2009

As members of any community, please help spread this message to inform the world of the hidden yet charming community of people whose existence is doubtful in the coming decades. Visit & see them in Pakistan before they are gone…..

On a separate note, hurry up before all their beautiful women get married! Luckily, they belong to one of the few tribal communities in Pakistan where girls are free to choose their life partners without any influence from the male members in the family.

‘The Elixir of Life’ Exhibition at The Smithfield Gallery

Cerise Art Agency is delighted to present for the first time in London the works of two outstanding contemporary Bulgarian artists.

The Smithfield Gallery will host for one week only a selected collection of oil paintings by Diyan Dimitrov and sculptures by Dimitar Stoyanov. Accomplished painters and remarkable observers, they came to tell the story of their search for balance and harmony, and ultimately – the Elixir of Life. The beautiful tale takes us on an amazing journey where pain and bliss transcend from dream to reality, from past to present. We share and associate with their inspiration, visions and expectations admiring the power of their images. Their love of reflection, shape and colour stretches beyond the fragile frame of the human life and explores its existence wonderfully embedded with the nature. Humanising the animals and plants in their paintings is a further step in highlighting the role of the surrounding world as a friend, teacher and witness.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the London public to enjoy the works of Diyan and Dimitar and to mark their debut into the local scene. With their paintings and sculptures selling in many private collections in Europe, we are sure they will be well received in London.

Diyan Dimitrov was born in 1977 in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated the National Academy of Fine Arts and has been exhibiting mainly abroad, with most of his works being held in private collections. Diyan works in the field of composition, portrait and  still life. An accomplished painter and astute observer, his paintings are his travel-log to the Modern day romanticism. Diyan works between London and Varna, Bulgaria.

Dimitar Stoyanov was born in Bulgaria and specialized in the field of miniature woodcarving and iconography. His works are deeply rooted in the Bulgarian culture and spirituality, which also provide a source of inspiration and beauty. As well as working strict to the tenets of the Bulgarian Ortodox Church, Dimitar has managed to transfer the essence of his philosophy to more contemporary and modern mediums.

The exhibition will take place at The Smithfield Gallery, 16 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9HY from 22nd November until 28th November. Opening times 10am-6pm. Website http://www.thesmithfieldgallery.com

Press party on 23rd November 2009 from 6pm

Private viewing and official opening on 24th November 2009 from 6pm

Twitter Exhibition Open Day on 27th November from 10am until 6pm