There’s no doubt that this year’s Women of the World (WOW) Festival 2023 was a huge success! The festival came to Karachi, returning to its in-person format on the 4th and 5th of March at Beach Luxury Hotel and people in attendance couldn’t get enough! Within two days of festivities, attendees witnessed dynamic panels, engaging workshops, exquisite performances, a vibrant marketplace, exciting junior shows and so much more. With a diverse roster of panelists from all over Pakistan, this year’s WOW Festival had something for everyone. From musicians to actors to makeup artists, to thought leaders and change-makers, this festival was surely the talk of the town this year.
What stood out at the WOW Festival ‘23 were the imaginative installations, interactive games and vibrant performances. With their immersive nature and insightful arguments, the installations were a huge hit amongst the crowd. Manduva by Sarmad Khoosat and Lahore Biennale Foundation was particularly loved by the attendees. Manduva was an exploration of seven and a half decades of Pakistani cinema, an attempt to initiate archiving and reading of our very indigenous cinematic syntax. In another participatory installation titled REACT, women were invited to don a plastic cover and throw paint at the walls expressing their rage, joy and every emotion in between. Adding on to the amazing installations was the Telescope where people got up close and personal with the skies thanks to the Cosmic Perspectives who brought their telescope to show everyone the beauty of the stars, the planets, and the moons up above us.
In 2023, the WOW festival organizers wanted to highlight the value of intentionally building and nurturing one another within a framework of radical love for community and acceptance through the theme ‘Ral Mil’ which means ‘coming together as a community’ in Seraiki. Attendees got a chance to witness the festival through an emphasis on building an understanding around the lack of access to community infrastructure and age-old cultural norms as well as traditions that once united humans and nature.
Performances by Shae Gill, Sarmad Khoosat, Nimra Bucha, and Naseebo Lal amongst several other notable names in the industry won hearts amongst the crowds. Further, there were several panel discussions led by acclaimed public figures including Jibran Nasir who spoke on being an ally and Sarwat Gilani hosted a program for kids titled the Arthouse.
In 2023, the WOW Festival utilized its festival structure to lay the groundwork for how people could come together to address the intersecting crises of environmental justice, social inequity, and gender rights by rebuilding community power to reflect, learn, effect narrative change, and to heal. Hence, an insightful panel discussion took place about women leaders response to the climate crisis with ADC Quratulain Wazir, Baithak founder Ayesha Amin, climate change activist Hira Wajahat, and the Living Indus director, Dr.Fazilda Nabeel alongside moderator, Mahreen Khan.
Overall, the WOW Festival 2023 in Karachi was an immersive and engaging event that not only celebrated women’s achievements but created a space to express themselves. Whether one was interested in art, film, or music, or simply wanted to connect within one’s community, WOW Festival broadened horizons for all!
For more information on Pakistan’s WOW (Women of the World) Festival 2023 click the link below:
Cover Image Via WOW