LAHORE, May 3: The Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) has a major undertaking on its hands in the form of the eighth National Exhibition of Visual Arts, which would be inaugurated by the federal minister for privatization, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, at the Alhamra Art Centre here on Monday evening.

PNCA press director Dr Sughra Bibi said around 370 paintings from Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta had been collected for the exhibition and sent to Lahore. The Shakir Ali Museum was the collection centre for Lahore.

The preparatory work for the eighth exhibition started in February with the constitution of an awards committee comprising renowned painters Gulgee, Colin David, Prof Saeed Akhtar and Mansur Rahi and noted art critic Marjorie Hussain, who would come up with the recommendations for the Quaid-i-Azam Award, the most prestigious art award of the country carrying a monetary prize of Rs50,000.

The display committee consists of Ms Hussain, Prof Colin David, landscape painter Misbahuddin Qazi and photographer Waqar. Celebrated artist Gulgee is the chairman of the selection committee and by Saturday evening he would have completed the choice of the paintings to be exhibited and those contending for the Quaid-i-Azam and Shakir Ali awards as well as the first and second prizes in different categories.

Celebrated painter Ghulam Rasul, Hajra Mansoor, Rasheed Khan and Rahat Saeed are among the contributing painters from Islamabad. The famed painter Akram Dost Baloch and Kalim Khan have sent their work from Quetta, Jahanzeb, Illahi Bakhsh Matti, Imtiaz Hassan Nasiruddin, Tayyaba, Husain Yousuf Zai from Peshawar and Rabia Zuberi, Raffat Alvi, Naheed Raza, Ameen Gulgee, Gulgee, Ghalib Baqar and Qudsia Nisar from Karachi.

An art critic writing about the seventh exhibition of visual arts in 1996 had mentioned the communication gap which had kept arts as well as appreciation of it away from the general public. He said the public had to visit museums and galleries to see pictures and hence stood ignorant of what was happening in the art world of Pakistan. To this end, the PNCA would arrange a national seminar after the exhibition. The impact of Islamic tradition of arts, art criticism and the role of media, evaluation of calligraphic art and ethical and unethical practices in the management of galleries and museums would be discussed on the occasion. Federal culture minister Rais Munir Ahmad will inaugurate the seminar in Lahore on May 27.

Among the distinguished art personalities who are expected to read papers and participate in the discussion are celebrated art theoretician Mohammad Hanif Ramay, Lok Virsa executive director Uxi Mufti, former foreign minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, former information minister Javed Jabbar, The Friday Times editor Jugnu Mohsn, Nation editor Arif Nizami, Prof Ijazul Hassan, Faqir Syed Ejazuddin, Mahtab Rashdi, Bano Qudsia, Aslam Azhar, Syed Noor, Khalid Abbas Dar, Mohammad Qavi, writers Asghar Nadeem Syed, Ashfaque Ahmad and Sarmad Sehbai and noted film personality Usman Peerzada.

The seventh national exhibition was arranged on April 24, 1996. —Jonaid Iqbal

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