Artists’ promotion at International markets remains individual curators

Artists’ promotion at International markets remains individual curators


DUBAI: ‘A picture is worth a thousand words” the phrase comes to life when you enter Ayesha & Fawad Durrani’s house, donned by paintings of all renowned and emerging Pakistani artists from the stallion of Mashkoor to the bright and beautiful calligraphy of BIn Kalander, the walls are colourful and expressive.

The couple’s passion for art has motivated them to open first of its kind art Gallery at Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai, UAE with one exception, they promote Pakistani artists. Feed an artist who is alive, a dead artist doesn’t need your money, a banker turned curator Fawad speaks to his clients who range from art lovers to collectors to large hotels and corporate firms at his cross borders gallery.

While visiting his gallery I was surprised at the artistry of our emerging artists who unfortunately get no venue to display their skills. In a country where the most treasured art pieces are getting spoiled in the National Art Gallery.  In many government department corridors the colour and texture is being lost from paintings of Pakistan’s most recent famous artists, like Said Akhtar and Colin-David.

It’s been reported that Sadqain’s murals are also being neglected in art galleries and Government institutes. The authorities blame the neglect on lack of resources and knowledge to preserve it. It’s the expatriates like Fawad who are individually promoting the emerging art of Pakistan. In recent years very few artists have made it to the international market.

The likes of Tassadaq Sohail with his biblical touch of artistry or the rural women and baloch portraits of Akhtar Seed, these paintings were recognised by the appreciation and efforts of individuals. The stallions of Mashkoor got noticed at the International market only by individual efforts with no role of any Government body or institute.

But most of the contemporary art is produced and died due to lack of venues to promote and display. If we look at the contemporary art arena of Pakistan, the soil has produced some exceptionally talented artists, some got noticed at the National and International scene but most of the emerging talent is lost in the charcoal figures drawn on the walls of villages.

The new breed of artists have very few galleries ready to take on the work of unknown artists, therefore they are forced to copy the work of international and nationally acclaimed artists. If we go by the exceptionally amazing copy of acclaimed work we wonder how creative the hands could be if given freedom of thoughts and value for their originality.

This soil is basking with undiscovered and unappreciated talent, a unique place where “truck art “was born and for some odd reason it took decades for this to get international attention. The “ART OF POOR “as made by the road side painters depicting the home articles of truck drivers who spend days on the road away from home. The art domes poetry, portraits and calligraphy.

The International brand Dolce & Gabana paid tribute to this art form in its 2015 fashion campaign where all their products were inspired by this form of art. However there is little or no effort to recognise its originality at the Government level. Art is expression and needs appreciation; it’s a dying field where young artists are struggling to make ends meet and pursuing other means of income. The acclaimed artists are dependent on individual efforts to go global.

There is dire need from media and government body’s to promote Pakistani artists and their creation at the national and international market. We need creative minds to inspire the world. In this scenario, a big applause to individuals like Fawad Durrani and Ayesha Durrani who have taken the task of promoting Pakistani artists at the International scene. One can meet and greet the likes of Mashkoor Hussain or Tassadaq Suhail whenever they land in UAE. They are relentlessly presenting our artists in the International art exhibitions, something that our ministry of art and culture should be doing.

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