Seeing Potohar through the canvas


In order to highlight the cultural milieu of the Potohar region, surrounding the federal capital, through works of artist of the twin cities, Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) showcased on Thursday paintings and sculptures in an exhibition titled “Hues from Potohar” at the National Art Gallery (NAG). The expo is featuring over 120 paintings and sculptures, based on symbolism, eye-catching bright tones, landscapes of Potohar region and vibrant hues weaved by artists of exquisite skills.
PNCA Visual Arts Division Director Musarrat Nahid Imam said the Potohar was a land of uneven contours stretching over miles with lush green fields, divided here and there by sacred rocks, religious shrines, architectural monuments—all telling the tale of once thriving Gandhara Civilisation. “It is not true that the budding as well as established artists whose work is a part of this massive exhibition— all belong to this region. It is rather their diverse work in different forms that portrays the diversity of Potohar region,” Musarrat added.
The region, Musarrat said, had a rightful claim on Ahmed Pervaiz (1926-1979) who was born to a Rajput family of Rawalpindi in 1926 and who without any doubt was an artist par excellence. “Pervaiz injected a unique dimension to painting which transformed his thoughts, perception, creative sensibilities and visual symbolism into a vibrant expression. He left Rawalipindi at very early age. His childhood memories of the region continued to haunt him till late and he could never get over it”, she maintained. Musarrat said, “Painting was like a faith to Pervaiz. He lived for art and found himself in it. His creative instincts continued to inspire and motivate his followers and admirers,” she said while pointing towards his untitled art piece depicting a riot of colours. “The Pride of Performance artist, Pervaiz, perhaps tried to show the colourful life of a bird as this piece from a distance looks like a bird with the cluster of bright colours”, she added.
“Zubaida Agha (1922-1997) had the courage and determination to stand against all odds and introduced a modern idiom of painting, Musarrat said, while explaining Zubaida’s art work. “With the subtle stroke of brush, Zubaida is recognised as one of the great colourist”, said Musarrat.
While talking about the randomly picked paintings of various artists on display, Musarrat said, the exhibition was full of tradition and culture of Potohar. “It provides a platform to the art enthusiasts by cultivating their interest and adding colour to the region. Syed Jahangir, Abbas Shah, Murtaza Baseer and Zainul Abedin remained inspiration for many and their work depicted the cultural milieu of the city”, she said, adding that after the fall of Dhaka all those artists moved to Bangladesh. “Hues from Potohar’ also presents the works of a number of fresh graduates who are continuing to excel and contribute. They are the ones committed to take the visual landscape of Pakistani art forward”, said Musarrat.
Talking about the aims and objectives of `Hues from Potohar’, Musarrat said the exhibition was conceived and put together to pay glowing tributes to all those who had been instrumental enriching the hues and colours of the plateau and giving Potohar a unique character of its own. “The NAG is proud to present the unique kaleidoscope of masters and fresh entrants under one roof. We are quite confident that the visual expressions employed by the participants included in the show shall continue to influence and inspire the community at large and set a future dimension for the artists in the making to follow, investigate and move forward,” Director Visual Arts PNCA said. The veteran late artists whose work are on display in the exhibition include Ahmed Pervaiz, Zubaida Agha, Ali Khan Sajjad, Jamila Masood, and Ghulam Rasul under the different title ‘Celebrating the Celebrated’ while other contemporary artists are:
Zaira Zaka, Zahra Kazmi, Tabasum Rizvi, Sumbal Mushtak, Sumaiya Khan, Shireen Najib, Shazieh Gojri, Shahzad Hamid, Shahnaz Akram, Sana Haroni, Saima Beenish, Rashda Faridi, Raja Chahgez Sultan, Rahat Saeed, Rabia Mailk, Osman Hyder, Nusratji, Natalia Kakar, Nasreen Aurangzeb, Nargis Khalid, Naireen Zia, Naeem Pasha, Nadia Rahat, Myra Javed, Musarrat Imam, Muhammad Zeeshan, Mubashir Iqbal, Mobina Zuberi, Misbahuddin Qazi, Mehmood Ali, Matyam Rasul, Mansur Rahi, Manail Muneeb, Kiran Shah, Kausar Iqbal, Kanza Sajid, Javeria Ahmed, Irfan Hakeem, Iqra Tariq, Hajra Mansur, Hafza Sakina, H Gul, Fauzia Minallah, Farah Rana, Beenish Khalid, Aqeel Solangi, Anjum Ayub Khan, Ambreen Hayyat, Altaf Ahmed, Aleem Dad Khan, Aisha Malik, Ahmed Habib, and Aasim Akhtar. The exhibition will continue until November 6.