Painting exhibition celebrates 100 years of Ghani Khan

Great poet’s grandson inaugurates ceremony in Swat.

Fazal Khaliq February 15, 2014
The art exhibition showcased several portraits of Ghani Baba, by renowned painters and woodcarvers of Afghanistan and Pakistan. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The centenary birth celebrations of renowned poet, sculptor and painter Khan Abdul Ghani Khan kicked off in Swat on Friday.

The celebrations, which involve art exhibitions, poetry recitals and seminars, began at a ceremony organised by Suvastu Arts and Culture Association at Serena Hotel. Ghani’s grandson Behram Khan was the chief guest at the event.

“Ghani Khan was not an individual but an institute who worked for peace and harmony and always preached love and tolerance,” said the association’s chairman Usman Ulas Yar, adding they have begun celebrations on February 14 as it is the international day of love.

The art exhibition showcased several portraits of Ghani, also known as Ghani Baba, by renowned painters and woodcarvers of Afghanistan and Pakistan, attracting a large number of people.

Nasir Sheen, a woodcarver who displayed his work at the exhibition, told The Express Tribune he tried to exhibit Ghani’s poetry through his art. “Each piece of art has the theme of a poem written by the great Ghani Baba,” he said.

Visitors were excited to see the work and art of the great poet and scholar, saying national heroes must not be forgotten.

“Nobody can deny the importance of Ghani Baba’s poetry and artwork for Pukhtuns, who consider him their hero. He is recognised all over the world and that is something for all Pukhtuns to be proud of,” said Iqbal Ali, a visitor at the exhibition.

Apart from Ghani’s portraits, the artists also displayed paintings depicting his poetic works.

At the occasion, Behram shared some interesting anecdotes of his grandfather, who was the son of famous Pukhtun leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. He said Ghani was made of love and made for love. “He was a reformer and would always love to discuss positive things with everyone,” recalled Behram. He thanked people for celebrating Ghani’s 100th birth year.

Ijaz Khan, a cultural activist, said the government should celebrate his birth year by issuing a postage stamp in memory of the great poet and by holding seminars. Ghani was born in 1914 in what is now Charsadda district and was trained in painting and sculpture at Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan Academy in India. He passed away in 1996.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2014.


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