“Lahore’s architecture and its history make it a city favourable for arts. Its rich culture makes it attractive for artists,” said Catherine Wilsons, the director of Art Education Programme at Memphis College of Arts.
Wilsons is due to leave for the United States on Friday after teaching at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) for a month. She holds a doctorate in Art Education. Talking to The Express Tribune at BNU City Campus on Monday, she described her stay in Lahore as a ‘visual feast’. “It’s a very vibrant city. Something is going on in Lahore all the time,” she said. She said it was her second visit to Lahore. “I first visited the city in November 2010 for ten days,” she said. Her next visit would be for three months, she said.
“Every time I walked around the city I came across something new. I loved the variety of shades in traditional dresses of women and the smell and taste of Lahori food,” she said. She said chicken biryani, sugarcane juice and qulfi had been her favorite foods.
“There are so many things I will want to remember about the city. Lahore’s visual scene is that of a city with a diverse population,” she said.
She said she was particularly impressed by the Mughal influence on city’s architecture. “The colonial era buildings also add value to the scenery,” she said. “It was sunset when I first visited Delhi Gate. The view of the gate and the aroma from the spice bazaar transport you the times when Lahore was the centre of Mughal Empire,” she said. She said Masjid Wazir Khan stood out among all the places she had visited in the city. “The art work on walls and ceilings of the mosque is unrivaled,” she said.
She said young artists in Pakistan were using some of the latest techniques that were recognised the world over. She said most students she interacted with were politically active and abreast with latest developments in the country. “They feel for their countrymen and want to do something to change things for the better,” she said.
“I love the hospitality people here show to strangers. Whenever I was unsure about something during my strolls across the city someone approached me and offered help,” she said.
About the miniature art in Pakistan, she said liked both the traditional and modern work.
“I particularly like how the young artists in Pakistan are experimenting with miniatures,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.