ISLAMABAD: With Pakistan hosting some of the world’s tallest mountains, they provide the ideal scenic backdrop to any setting — real or painted.
The seventh Pakistan Mountain Festival got underway in earnest on Wednesday as young artists displayed their depictions of life around the mountains.
The ‘Mountain Marvels’ exhibition, comprising 250 paintings, was inaugurated at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) on Wednesday as part of the festival. The main objective of the advocacy festival is to highlight the importance of mountains for all the living creatures.
Post-graduate and undergraduate students painted mountain peaks, their surrounding environment, cultural heritage of communities around mountains and their fantasies and thrills associated with mountains.
The oil on canvas compositions reflected the youth’s inspiration to save and serve the mountain ecosystems.
“Well-aware and sensitised youth about environmental sustainability is the last hope to protect the planet through conservation and development initiatives,” said Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) Executive Director and the founding director of Pakistan Mountain Festival Munir Ahmed.
“The damage done by the older generation is irreparable, but there is still hope to slow down the process of degradation by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating indiscriminate deforestation and by taking steps for inclusive and integrated afforestation,” he added.
The exhibits, he said, reflect the love young artists have for the mountains and its culture through a variety of colours and treatment.
“The Hunza and Kalash women, culture and heritage have been the preferred themes for some of the participants. The themes and images the youth have painted in a live competition show their skills and love for the mountains, but sadly no one knows about the actual threats to the mountains, its people and culture,” Ahmed pointed out.
In this regard, he said that the ‘experts’ and the civil society organisations have a responsibility for addressing the ignorance of the youth towards climate changes taking place.
“We need to launch youth awareness campaign on changing the climate. The government agencies, multilateral organisation and the education institutions need to launch an inclusive and comprehensive initiative to inform and educate the young,” he said.
Rawalpindi Arts Council Resident Director Waqar Ahmed said the council has been supporting Pakistan Mountain Festival to inculcate awareness among the youth and other segments of the society.
Riffat Ara Baig, the coordinator of the exhibition, said that art can be a multi-fold medium to educate and inspire the youth and general public to love mountains not only for their beauty and natural landscape but as a source of biodiversity, forests and frozen water that we need to continue our life and livelihood.
Zobia Jammel, one of the participating students said that she wanted to express her love for the beauty-rich mountains which have been attracting tourists for years. When asked by International Mountain Day is celebrated, she admitted ignorance.
Hira Javed said that such events help create awareness about issues.
“While living on the footsteps of the Margalla Hills we need to know and educate the youth the importance of mountains in our lives,”
“Mountains give us fresh water and air, without both, we cannot live. We are thankful to those who maintain the cultures and environment of the mountain to liven up our lives and moods,” Farwar Sadaf.
Laraib Ali said the cultural revival is a must for every society, and the mountain culture is very less known to the people downstream. This is why we need to mainstream the mountain heritage and culture through various events.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2017.