From the eyes of a child | Pakistan Today

From the eyes of a child

LAHORE – Let a thousand flowers bloom”, an exhibition of paintings by Ali Azmat, will be inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University Professor Mujahid Kamran on Tuesday, January 11 at 5:00 pm and will stay open till January 18 between 11:00am and 8:00pm everyday.
About twenty paintings are being displayed in the exhibition and are relevant to the current political scenario of the country, at the same time also depicting the problems faced by the masses.
They are able to capture the agony of the next generation in relation to Pakistan by representing a collection of children in horrific situations. Done in acrylic on canvas, the paintings depicting toddlers shows the current state of the country.
Each painting shows a child with a doll, or a child who is sitting or standing alone. The background is plain, but what is happening in the foreground is enough to send a chill down the art lovers’ spines. One painting shows the profile of a child, with a Pakistani flag painted on his cheek but also has wounds and injuries on his face, which is covered with bandages which cover the flag partially.
Another picture shows a child with a flag painted on his cheek too, but this time it is a frontal depiction and the flag’s star and crescent are smeared by a tear running down from the child’s eye. Meanwhile, some of the paintings show a child holding a doll. The doll however is always either broken or tattered, and while the upper torso is green, sometimes with the crescent and star on it, the legs are white. In fact in one picture, a child is hugging the doll, but the angle in which we can see it, the doll (completely white to denote the minorities) has the child’s hand crossing over it. Therefore from a lateral point of view, the child seems to be silencing the doll. In another symbolical depiction, a child is wearing army boots, and hanging his face down to look at them.
The future of the child – will he join the army, an establishment force, or is the child tomorrow’s citizen looking confusedly at the most powerful element in Pakistan’s society and politics? It is a pathetic picture indeed and the scene is almost heartbreaking for the army boots are much bigger than the little feet that have slid inside them. Notably the child is also standing on a Palestinian ‘chaffia’ (head gear). Perhaps the most horrifying is the scene where a baby is seen from above and is seated in a pool of a red liquid that looks like blood. Such innocence, in the form of a vulnerable, naked infant, residing and playing in blood is a gross depiction of reality.
Ali Azmat’s representation is indeed worth seening. It is important that students, young people and others who have the ability and intelliegence to think deeply visit this exhibition to try and think of what the future of the Pakistani society could turn into. Though it is the interpretation of only one artist, it resides in well grounded reality.

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