Suppressed talent: For Peshawar’s artists, there is no place for show-and-tell

Peshawar University is the only institute which organises annual exhibitions for young painters.


Hidayat Khan January 01, 2013
Promoting talent does not mean organising concerts, it also means promoting fine arts which is usually a reflection of society, says Imran. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PESHAWAR:


Contemporary artists in Peshawar have few avenues to hone their talent. With few exhibition halls and art galleries left in the city to exhibit their work, many sculptors and painters have been forced to confine their pieces to their homes.


“The city has produced famous painters in the past so there is great potential here. However, there are no art galleries or exhibition halls which showcase our work, which is badly affecting young artists,” said painter Imran Khan.  “I have created more than a dozen art pieces in my studio, which are rusting away in my storeroom.”

Promoting talent does not mean organising concerts, it also means promoting fine arts which is usually a reflection of society, Imran added.

painting 01
Peshawar University is the only institute which organises annual exhibitions for young painters. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

However, much to their relief, the University of Peshawar’s Department of Art Design organises annual exhibitions for young artists, although it does not have its own gallery.

Built in the early 1960’s, the Abasin Arts Council Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, used to be a patron for arts in Peshawar. It was a place where young people were trained in visual arts, performing arts and music. The Iranian Consulate in the city also held painting classes, but they were stopped several years ago.

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Peshawar University is the only institute which organises annual exhibitions for young painters. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The Abasin Arts Council would hold painting exhibitions in a small room at Nishtar Hall.  This was the only place where aspiring artists got a chance to learn from their seniors and promote their own work.

“I believe that promoting arts is not only vital for the development of society, but also for the country as a whole. However, this can only be done if work is exhibited. I cannot put my sculptures in the city’s main square,” said a sculptor from Swat, Yusuf Khan.

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Peshawar University is the only institute which organises annual exhibitions for young painters. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Yusuf added that the province has hundreds of talented artists and fashion designers, but people remain uninformed about their work.

Even Da Ghani Derai, a memorial complex established in 2002 in Charsadda for revered poet and painter Ghani Khan, does not showcase his work anymore because of security problems, said budding artist Suleman Khan.

Imran Khan

Meanwhile, fashion designers in the metropolis also complain about the lack of support for their work.

The Women Business Development Centre is the only centre in the city where designers can exhibit their collections. Last week, an exhibition of jewellery and dresses from Bahawalpur was held, but the turnout remained very low. The organisers then extended the duration of the exhibition, but there was still minimal response. The centre blames the existing security problems in the province for the lack of interest.

The women busssiness

This spells a sad state of affairs for Peshawar, a city where artists such as Ismail Gulgee, Ghazala Javed, Rahim Shah among others blossomed and became renowned artists around the globe.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2013.

 

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