(originally posted on Daily Times)
BY Faizan Ali Warraich
LAHORE: The Artists’ Association of Punjab (AAP) organised the 29th annual Art Exhibition 2015 and a commemorative show titled ‘Massacre of Innocents’ on Tuesday.
In addition to the art exhibition, the AAP held an ‘open discourse seminar’ where speakers addressed a lively audience at Alhamra Art Gallery.
This year’s annual art exhibition was dedicated to the innocent children who were ruthlessly slaughtered in a Taliban attack at their school in Peshawar. Along with the paintings on the Peshawar incident, artists had come up with avariety of themes including village landscape and others. The exhibition was inaugurated by Lahore Arts Council Chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi.
In the opening session, Ataul Haq Qasmi said that these kinds of events and art exhibitions actually had “created tolerance in our intolerant society”. He said that extremists are more dangerous than terrorists and sympathisers of terrorists should be exposed in front of the whole nation.
Qasmi said that the Peshawar school massacre somehow united the nation but he showed concerns on some factions of the society who led the agenda of Taliban without disclosing their connection with the terrorist groups. Artists and painters, he said, had always expressed on the sensitive issues and he had observed the same passion which was witnessed in Indo-Pak war in 1965. He said in that war Pakistan’ one of the greatest literature was produced including novels, short stories and painters expressing the war-led scenario. Renowned painter, art critic and AAP Chairperson Mian Ijazul Hassan said on the occasion that artists and painters should be involved in policymaking regarding the art. He said that the state’s attitude toward promoting art could be observed by this example that no single painting was bought by the National Arts Gallery. He said the best scenario in which arts could be flourished is when the artist and state work together, leading to the ‘cultural development of the society’. Another speaker, Asghar Nadeem Syed, a renowned literary figure and drama serial writer, said that artists were sensitive and did not instantly respond to the unusual happening in the society. He said that it takes time for artists and painters to absorb the depression of war like situation and this annual art exhibition is a “response to the killings of our innocent children by barbaric Taliban, with artists beautifully reflecting through their work the fear present in the nation’s collective conscious.
Nadeem said Pakistan has to win this war against terrorists, and this war is actually being fougth to “save our heritage and culture”. He referred to an example of the famous painting ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso in which residents of his native city raised their hands and cried out looking at the Nazi Germans warplanes. He said masterpieces were created when artists and painters absorbed more depression of the event.
Former foreign minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali said that these type of art exhibitions where artists expressed their emotions were an effort towards opening up space to listen each other’s arguments. Commenting on Taliban’s so-called Jihad,he said that jihad is absolutely business of the state; privatisation of jihad has to be halted in which individual groups want to impose their extremist agenda and defame the country. Later, he recited a poem ‘flowers of field’ which included the following lyrical line: ‘apologists’ souls must bear (naked) in front of nation’.
-novel girl/dream girl/perfect combination/life
-life in walked city Lahore