KARACHI: Mohatta Palace Museum has opened its doors to viewers to appreciate and fall in love with the wildlife in Pakistan.
The exhibition, titled 'Wildly Ours: Past, Present and Future of Pakistan's Wildlife', showcases 22 oil-on-canvas art pieces, depicting vivid images of snow leopards, tigers, wolves and foxes as seen through the eyes of Italian artist Maurizio Boscheri. The show was organised by the Consulate of Italy in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan.
A meeting with Boscheri revealed his genuine enthusiasm to capture wildlife on canvas. "Nature has been the sole source of interest and curiosity [for me]," he says in his artist statement, which was written on a wall at the gallery. "Colours are my second skin and provide food for my mind."
Boscheri shyly acknowledged that his English language skills weren't proficient; hence translating him was none other than the consul-general of Italy, Gianluca Rubagotti.
Speaking about wildlife in Pakistan, Boscheri remarked, "Pakistan is quiet rich in bio-diversity and climatic heritage," he said. "It has snow leopards, my all-time favourite Markhor and the Houbara Bustard. I have seen rich bio-diversity [here] like none other."
However, the artist believes that now wild creatures are in critical danger. He remarked that he visited Keenjhar Lake in December, 2015, to view migratory birds. However he was disappointed with their declining numbers. "Not many birds were present anymore," he said. "I was on the watch out for unique species but I fear that due to growing human interaction most of them have disappeared."
He was of the view that Pakistan's bio-diversity is at a critical stage and it is essential to improve the situation. The habitats for wild animals need to be increased without humans fearing that they might be attacked by them. For instance, snow leopards are killed by people in northern areas of the country because it is feared that these animals might attack them or eat their domesticated animals, he said. "People in such localities must realise the worth of wild animals and rear more domesticated animals," he added. "More than wild animals, humans are eating up this planet."
According to Boscheri, he first painted a snow leopard when he saw its image in one of the antique centres in Italy.
"Every animal has a specific life, fascinating and unknown habits and a unique history," he said, adding that he has tried to unearth these features in his paintings.
On a personal front, he has been quiet fascinated with wildlife and called himself a 'nature-lover', professing that he has been a vegetarian for the past five decades.
The show will continue till August 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.
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