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TV and film atrists enjoy a lighter moment at the National Artists Convention on Saturday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
TV and film atrists enjoy a lighter moment at the National Artists Convention on Saturday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Day-long deliberations on the state of the arts in the country and the possible way forward for theirs promotion were the crux of the first day of the National Artists Convention on Saturday.

Artists at the convention, which was held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), urged the government to launch a national cultural policy that reflects tangible ways to promote provincial art and culture.

They argued that artists were living and working in difficult conditions with no mechanisms in place to support their professional engagements. They also suggested developing academies and centres of excellence across the country, and urged the government to take the arts on board to combat extremisms and terrorism while implementing the National Action Plan.

Speaking at the inauguration of the first ever National Artists Convention, State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said terrorism had not only claimed the lives of soldiers and citizens, but had also impacted art and culture.

“Artists are the actual face of Pakistan. The integrated mainstreaming of the art and culture would make society dynamic and cohesive. We need to recognise the long due rightful needs of artists,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb added that the country’s young people need a vibrant society that can provide them enough opportunities to explore creative expression.

PNCA Director General Jamal Shah said: “The arts are the source of expression that link individuals with surroundings in an intimately creative catharsis.

“Human beings seemingly like to be part of society and wish to be recognised for its creativity and expression. We need to rethink if art is the necessity, then we need to develop strategic pathways to engage different segments of society in it.”

Mr Shah said five thematic discussion groups would put forward recommendations that will be presented to the prime minister for approval and induction into the government’s development programme.

The convention is expected to bring together popular stage and television actors, musicians and dancers, painters, sculptors and critics to shed light on the progress of the artists’ community.

During a panel discussion on the visual arts, renowned artists Mian Aijazul Hasan discussed the necessity of art, the changes it could bring in society and artists’ welfare.

Art critic Quddus Mirza emphasised the promotion of old and new art, while sculptor Jabbar Gul expressed optimism about the type of art produced in Pakistan.

Shahid Nadeem, speaking during a discussion on theatre, emphasised the connection between folk and modern theatre and the ways they can learn from each other.

Tahir Siddiqui, another panellist, said theatre should be showed in its pure form to educate people.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2018