A K-P state of mind: Art has not left the building

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The Directorate of Culture’s two-day art exhibition titled Young Artists of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa opened on Monday at Nishtar Hall. More than 100 paintings featuring the work of 20 young artists from around the province were on display.

“Every corner, every field of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has a story behind it; the exhibition tells these stories visually,” culture director Mehmood Khan told The Express Tribune. “It is good to see these young artists paint so beautifully with such awareness about their surroundings.” According to Mehmood, the directorate will continue to encourage them in their efforts.

The body of work on display boasted oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, digital photography, and pencils. But the broad range of mediums at play was not the cause for excitement. It was the hope that young artists in the region are still trying to say something through their work. This came through with the risks a few of the artists had taken in the execution of their piece – even if some of the skill was a tad bit clumsy or the idea too obvious.

That hope is actually more important than an Andrew Wyeth-like skill in painting each blade of grass beautifully, especially in a province with a shrinking space for creative expression. Most artists cannot even find a suitable venue willing to exhibit their work.

One of the artists whose work was on display, Imran Khan, told The Express Tribune, “We want to show the people our own culture and heritage, and what impact the current situation has on our lives.”

“Art is not what you see but what you make other see,” said Khan, quoting Edgar Degas. One of Khan’s watercolours depicted Chowk Yadgar. He had exhibited several pieces and was hopeful to win some accolade as a result.

One of the more popular pieces was Zakir Khan’s portrait in oil of a Pukhtun in a traditional turban.

The turban was a repeated motif; in other paintings it was less an ornament and more of a visual allegory of the complicated plight of the Pukhtuns.

Even though a spot in an exhibition inside Peshawar is a coveted spot for most regional artists, Zakir understood more is needed to promote. “Artists also need financial benefits.”

Source: The Express Tribune.