Art for a cause: Belgian canapés and visual treats - promoting female education

Published: April 13, 2014
Depicting the rural lifestyles of Pakistan, this painting will be more than just a value addition for the buyer’s home. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Depicting the rural lifestyles of Pakistan, this painting will be more than just a value addition for the buyer’s home. PHOTO: EXPRESS


What better than to combine a love for the arts with a singeing social issue? In line with this mantra, a fund-raising art fair was organised by the Rotary Club of Islamabad Metropolitan, in collaboration with Nomad Centre and Art gallery.

Hosted at the Belgian ambassador’s residence, the fundraiser exhibited an assortment of paintings and photography from more than 90 artists here on Saturday morning. The event welcomed art lovers and supporters to lavish their attention upon a total of 115 paintings of different mediums and techniques, with large canvasses neatly arranged under the canopy which clouded the backyard. A pleasant outdoor setup for tea, with a variety of Belgium delights, made the event interesting and personalised.

The works on display showcased acrylic paintings by artists Asad-ur Rehman, Nadeem Ahmed, Massod A Khan and Ubaid Syed. Oil on paper paintings by Shafique Farooqi, Ayesha Seddiqi, Iram Wani, Hanif Khan, Tabassum Rizvi, Manizah Janbaz, Zahra David, Tayyaba Aziz and Mashkoor Rana were a delightful addition to the collection. Mixed-media pieces by Ayesha Seddiqi, Nsir Malik, Zahra S. Kazmi, Anjum Ayub, Samina Ali, Zia Zaidi, Azeem Iqbal, S Faraz Ali and Akram Dost Baloch, and water-colour paintings by Sarfaraz Musawir,  Sameen Asif, NH Kazmi, Ather Jamal, Salma Manzoor and Hanif Khan’s work was also on display.

Art-lovers who wanted to splurge for a cause crammed around the Mashal group stall, which was selling traditional handicrafts and embellished home accessories. The proceeds from the exhibit will go to Mashal, an NGO working for underprivileged women and children up until the high school level, donated towards needy girl’s education.

“This event is one-of-a-kind, and it is also rare for a diplomat to open up his home to almost everyone,” said Belgian Ambassador to Pakistan Peter Claes. Claes, who was initially worried about the unpredictable weather, was satisfied with how the arrangements turned out.  “It is for a good cause, and also promotes the best side of Pakistan — its unique and beautiful art,” added Claes.

“I think it is a great initiative, which also displays an interesting mix of mediums where one gets the opportunity to not just pick and choose, but also compare,” said Ayesha, a visitor.

Nageen Hyat, owner and curator of Nomad Art Gallery, was of the view that supporting education through such events was essential. Hyat, who was responsible for picking out some interesting pieces for display, said that in the same vein as this initiative, the gallery plans to hold more of such events to support vocational training for women and girls in the near future.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2014.

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