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Akhtar Soomro: Sheedi Community in Karachi, Pakistan

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Uploaded on May 10, 2011

Akhtar Soomro documented the Afro-Pakistani Sheedi community in Lyari Town in Karachi, Pakistan. The Sheedis are believed to be descendants of sailors, merchants, servants, and slaves who arrived from East Africa between the years 1200-1900.

While the Sheedi often face discrimination and a lack of economic opportunities, and Lyari suffers from government neglect and increased violence due to gang and drug activity, Soomro chose to highlight the unique aspects of Sheedi culture that are derived from their African roots. Soomro photographed and recorded sound at festivals, weddings, and other events, capturing the Sheedi's distinctive instruments, music, dance, dress, and cultural rituals.

He also photographed Sheedi boxers and soccer players, who are known throughout Pakistan for being the best in the country. Soomro views this work as part of a larger, ongoing documentation of the Sheedis, and his long-term goal is to photograph them in other parts of Pakistan, as well as in other countries.

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org...
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Meet the Recipients of the 2009 Production Grant for Photographers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. In 2009, the Open Society Documentary Photography Project launched a new grant program to support photographers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Nine photographers were selected from 6 different countries—Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan—to document social justice or human rights issues in their home countries.

In addition to awarding project funds, the program provided these photographers with two workshops in Istanbul, audio recording equipment and training, and a 6-month mentorship with world-renowned photographers Yuri Kozyrev (NOOR Images) and Antonin Kratochvil (VII Photo Agency).

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