Artistes from twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi outlined a cultural plan of action to practice and promote different art forms in the federal capital.
Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) Director General Jamal Shah, Islamabad Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Ali Naqvi, well-known artistes including Naeem Pasha, Abbas Shah, Nahida Raza, Riffat Ara Baig, Shahla Moazzam, Zainab Omar, Zara Sajid, Waqar Azeem, Khalid Zia Siddiqi, Hanif Khan and Younas Roomi participated in the consultative meeting organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan).
During the meeting held to discuss National Cultural Policy already approved early this year, the representatives of various art forms deliberated on the shrinking spaces for art and culture.
They urged the PNCA and the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) to facilitate and provide space free of cost to artists from different genres to cultivate a cultural face of the federal capital. The practicing artists asked the PNCA chief to revive the series of art exhibitions and provide a space for theatre activities without any charges.
The artists mentioned that only five of them were operating non-profit art galleries in their own houses without creating any inconvenience to their neighbourhood. Rather, these galleries were a source of art and cultural promotion in the capital. Unfortunately they were axed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) under the Supreme Court orders.
However, the schools were given an exemption while hundreds of guest houses have also taken a stay order and hence are operating from residential areas. Some of the foreign missions and international organisations are also operating from residential areas. The artists requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to exempt the art galleries too so that they could resume their art shows in the residential areas.
Pasha said the art galleries were a part of the artists own residences. So they were subsidised premises used for the promotion of art especially a source of promotion for the young and budding artists. A simple artist cannot afford the rent charged at commercial places to open an art gallery. That is why all the galleries in the capital were closed down. One or two decided to continue at the commercial places but they are not showing the art by young and budding artists.
Shah asked the artists to form a committee to prepare recommendations for the Supreme Court and the government. He said the PNCA could only forward the set of recommendations to the concerned authorities with its endorsement. However, he promised to give due share of participation to the youth in all future PNCA activities.
Chinese musical concert held at PNCA
Naqvi said the IMC would take every step to make the art and craft village, amphitheaters and other cultural places functional with the support of the artists committee. He said the IMC would come up to support the cultural action plan outlined by the artists. He also asked the PNCA to support and facilitate the IMC to develop cultural hubs in Islamabad.
Devcom-Pakistan Director Ahmed said engaging youth in the cultural venues would bring positive change in the capital city. The integration of resources available with different government agencies and private institutions would amplify the cultural identity of Islamabad.
Baig also suggested that art teachers of the city be engaged in different projects and art exhibitions to explore their talent and skills.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2018.
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