PESHAWAR: Almas Khanam Jan, a female artist from Malakand, has recently earned an international award for her mosaic embroidery artwork with the theme of religious freedom.

The award ceremony was held in the British parliament on Oct 27 where parents of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai received it on her behalf as Ms Khanam Jan could not make it to England due to delay in the visa processing , confirmed her family sources.

The Bellwether International, a not-for-profit organisation, confers the award on creative artists for their powerful artworks portraying religious freedom.

The recent awards ceremony was hosted by the UK Parliament in which Pakistani artist Almas Khanam Jan, a resident of Malakand, was given the first prize for her best art piece selected from hundreds of submissions from around the world.

According to her brother Kamran, an artist himself, Khanam Jan had passed her intermediate recently and was seeking a scholarship to do a degree either in mass communication or law.

In a chat with this scribe, Khanam Jan said she was approached by the Bellwether International to participate in an art competition with the theme of religious freedom. She said it took her three months to complete her artwork, a sort of her definition of religious freedom through medley of colours and stitches.

“It was a painting depicting a girl attired in a typical Pashtun dress with multi-colour mosaic reflective of different signs of religions alongside playing flute and carrying a pitcher on her head. Soon after submitting it, I received an email from the jury of the award forum that my art piece qualified the theme of religious expression and was placed for the first prize,” she narrated with a sense of pride.

“I consider myself lucky that my art is hanging on the walls in Great Britain through this platform. Many female artists and young people of my land are waiting for such an opportunity. I hope one day every woman will be free to live her life,” Ms Jan envisioned.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2022

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