Lahore Witnessing Art Exhibition Boom

With September approaching fast and summer getting mild, the art scene in Lahore is gaining momentum as three painting exhibitions are being held in the last week of August.

Of the three art shows, one opened at Ijaz Gallery on Saturday whereas the rest would be held on August 28 and 29.

Artist Ali Kazim displayed an exclusive show of pigments on wasli (a traditional handmade paper) at Ijaz Galleries. Art lovers and students from various arts institutions of Lahore attended the one-day exhibition.

The formal inauguration of the exhibition was delayed for some time due to electricity failure. Kazim displayed 15 paintings depicting ordinary people, traditions and values of Pakistani society.

Kazim told Daily Times that he was going to England on August 30 on a commonwealth scholarship. “Me and four other artists from New Zealand and the United Kingdom were awarded scholarships out of 52 countries,” he said.

Kazim said pigments on wasli was difficult and it took him a year to complete his works. Kazim is from Pattoki, a small town in Punjab famous for its rose nurseries. He said that he used to work as a dispenser at the Kasur district hospital and later got a two-year diploma in it. He said he had an inclination towards illustrations and drawings since childhood. “Cinema hoardings used to fascinate me,” he said.

He said he liked movies and it was in one of them that he saw a person sculpting, which inspired him. So, Kazim started working with a carpenter and carved chinoti furniture. His luck changed when he met Punjab University fine arts student Iqbal Ahmed Khokar in Lahore while working as a dispenser at Gulab Devi Hospital and as a helper at Shabbir Raza’s clinic. He said that he asked Khokar for guidance who agreed to see his work. Kazim said that Khokar declared his drawings and woodcarvings ‘outclass’ and advised him to visit him regularly to improve his skill.

Kazmi did his FA privately and got admission in the National College of Arts (NCA) after selling some of his works, since his parents could not afford his tuition fee. Kazim graduated from the NCA in 2002 with a distinction and is working as a visiting lecturer at the NCA, teaching first year students of the Fine Arts Department.

A miniature exhibition will be held today (August 28) at the Naqsh Arts Complex in Bazar-e-Hakeeman, Bhati Gate. Principal Naqsh Art Complex Mehmoodul Hasan Roomi told Daily Times that the exhibition would theses final-year students Ruqia Iqbal Chaudhry, Shehbaz Jamal, Amar Tariq, Ambreen Riaz and Faisal Ahmed Afaq. A total of 50 paintings would be displayed as each student has contributed 10 miniature paintings. He said the students carried out their theses under miniaturist Shakeel Ahmed’s supervision.

A fabric paintings’ exhibition, titled ‘Living heritage of today and yesteryears’, will be held by fashion designer/painter Mahrukh Butt at Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery in NCA from August 29 (Monday) till September 14. Butt has done a short course in fashion designing from American College in London and since 1993 she has been exhibiting her works. She did an exhibition at the Lahore Pearl Continental Hotel in 1993 and five exhibitions at the International Club between 2000-2005. She also displayed her works at the NCA’s faculty exhibition in 1996 and at a joint faculty-student exhibition at the American Centre in 1997.

“Although I graduated as a textile designer, it has always been my passion to paint. I chose this media, as I found it a very effective way of expressing myself. When I paint, I have a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and I love working with colors. The turquoise and curry colors are mainly what I have used. When I paint and play with colors, it is like food for my soul,” Butt writes in her introduction as a painter.

Recently, an Irish delegation visited Lahore which was arranged by Pakistan’s ambassador to Ireland and coordinated by the Pakistan National Arts Council (PNCA). The delegation toured Lahore’s art galleries and met officials of the Federal Ministry of Culture. The delegation told Daily Times that Pakistan and Ireland would have a cultural agreement soon and a paintings exhibition, based on contemporary art, would be held in Ireland in 2006 on an exchange basis.

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