Bridging differences through art

Published Sep 25, 2012 07:30am

An exhibition at National Art Gallery celebrating 30 years of Rohtas.-Photo by Ishaque Chaudhry.

ISLAMABAD: For art lovers, it was no less a treat to be at National Art Gallery, where paintings, sculptures, posters and pen and pencil work was exhibited.

The exhibition was part of the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of Rohtas Art Gallery.

The art gallery managed to put 160 art pieces by 64 artists from Pakistan and aboard on the walls of the gallery.

Brazilian Ambassador Alfredo Leoni inaugurated the exhibition while Naeem Pasha, gallery founder and architect, Quddus Mirza, curator of Rohtas Art Gallery, Saleema Hashmi and a large number of diplomats and art lovers attended the function.

Rohtas Gallery opened its doors in 1981. It was the height of General Ziaul Haq’s martial law when Rohtas Gallery opened in Islamabad to offer space for progressive thought, to nurture creativity and celebrate art and culture.

Naeem Pasha, architect and gallery founder, along with a group of friends that included, Shoaib and Salima Hashmi, Ahmed Khan and Zahoorul Akhlaq, held a brainstorming session to decide a vision for the gallery.

They decided it would be a modern contemporary art gallery primarily presenting the works of Pakistani artists, dedicated to creativity and artistic excellence.

Since that time, the gallery has become synonymous with innovative, non-conventional expression.

An exhibition at National Art Gallery celebrating 30 years of Rohtas.-Photo by Ishaque Chaudhry.

It has hosted six to nine exhibitions a year, and allowed artists from Pakistan, Britain, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the United States to share their paintings, graphics, sculptures, ceramics, photographs and experimental work with the public.

Artists exhibited their own unique style in the paintings. Lenticular prints, pencil and poster paint, gouache on wasli (paper), silver leaf on wasli, oil on canvas mixed media on canvas, wood and bronze work and others. A few artists painted in the abstract style.

Contemporary subjects also found in the paintings of the artists. Some pieces of senior artists were provided by Naeem Pasha, Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Rawalpindi Arts Council.

Naeem Pasha and Salima Hashmi’s art pieces were also on display.

While addressing the gathering, Brazilian Ambassador Alfredo Leoni said that Pakistan was known for its contemporary art in the world and its artist had created their place in the world.

He said that the promotion of art and culture would strengthen the friendly ties between the two countries. He said that the modern art created a soft image of Pakistan in the world.

“We celebrate the 64th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Pakistan, in 1948. Brazil was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan and the first Latin American country to open an Embassy in this country. On the other hand, Pakistan chose Brazil to open its first Embassy in Latin America: in Rio de Janeiro, then capital of Brazil, 61 years ago, in 1951, he said.

He appreciated the work of Rohtas Art Gallery and said that it was playing the role of a bridge between the world and Pakistan.

Naeem Pasha said that the art gallery started the work during Zia’s martial law and provided a platform to the modern artist.

Quddos Mirza said that the exhibition brought back the confidence of contemporary artists in the country.


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