The young wood carver at work at his studio. — Dawn
The young wood carver at work at his studio. — Dawn

PESHAWAR: Arsalan Ali, a young woodcarver from Swat who has a unique style, sees a bright future for the art.

He is a staunch follower of the maxim ‘nothing is impossible in this world’. While still in School, he was good at mathematics and making geometrical shapes was his favuorite pastime. He says that art has a bright future as young people have great potential and creativity.

He claims that young people can do wonders if given a proper platform. “I believe that art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics,” he adds. Mr Ali says that one day he picked up a charcoal and began making shapes of small boxes lying on the table before him. Then a photo of a beautiful horse on the wall fascinated him and this way the artist hidden in him took its natural course.

Arsalan Ali says young people can do wonders if given proper platform

Mr Ali belongs to Madyan town in Swat. He is student of first year at a private engineering university in Peshawar. Although his core subject is civil engineering, yet recently he has convinced his family and teachers to let him switch over to the discipline of architectural engineering.

His room at his home is stacked with different portraits done with charcoal and a wooden frame with variety of patterns now serves as private studio. Being a covert guy, he has little time to enjoy sports or friends’ company.

“I give at least an hour daily to my art activities. I am a self-styled artist. I don’t have any mentor or guide. However, I discuss my ideas if bump onto any woodcarver or sketch artist. I am strong believer in the adage that says that nothing is impossible in this world. For the last two years, I have been actively involved in my art pursuits,” says Mr Ali.

He says that many other students like him have inborn talent but lack of proper opportunities hampers it to come out. He says that last year, his art had gone a step forward when he was invited to participate at an exhibition in Khan-i- Farhang, Iran, Peshawar.

Mr Ali says that his art piece got an offer of Rs12, 000 as sell out price and later he upload it on his Facebook wall which fetched an offer of Rs50,000 but he declined it because he thinks art is priceless.

He has a master hand in pencil sketch and charcoal sketch making but woodcarving is recent taste and he has also a penchant for painting. “I love landscapes, human figures, animals and flowers. I have bought about six different tools for woodcarving but it is very time consuming. It takes me almost a week to complete a wooden art piece. I receive offers from art lovers online but currently I am unable to entertain them as I don’t have enough to do so,” he adds.

Mr Ali says that young people should exploit their talent anyway. “We can bring in a big change in our society through art. Our youth have great strength in them. Sometime parents impose their own dreams on their children which I think is not good,” he opines.

Till now he has carved out many wooden pieces with God’s names and other floral patterns. He says he also tries to transfer his art to his younger brother and sisters.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2017