The idyllic valley of Kashmir is maimed with a painful past. Around 25 noted artists came together to unveil the scarred faces of the conflict-hit territory at an exhibition organised in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts here on Tuesday.
While some artists portrayed all-out scenes of blood and gore in the aftermath of bomb blasts, others took a subtle approach on the subject. Paintings by Abdul Rehman represented people sifting through rubble, looking for bodies. Distorted faces, soaked in blood represented the work of Abbas Shah.
However, the work of other artists like Mansoor Rahi, Shehbaz Malik and Raja Changez Sultan depicted abstract silhouettes doused in dark hues of blue and black.
Mussarat Nahid’s work was perhaps the most descriptive and simultaneously disturbing with red paint and real pictures of people suffering and tortured, pasted onto the canvas. Paintings by Humera Ijaz, Ghulam Abbas, Sardar Mohammad, Aftab Zafar, Masood Hameed and Quddus Mirza were also exhibited. Almost all paintings used the medium of oil on canvas with red paint, symbolising blood.
Morose in its essence, the exhibition was unable to attract a significant turnout of visitors despite showcasing some of the country’s celebrated artists.
The empty gallery reflected mismanagement on the part of organisers and a general lack of interest by the public.
The exhibition, organised by the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration in collaboration with the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir Council, and continues till February 10.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.
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