LAHORE: The National College of Arts (NCA) on Wednesday hosted an exhibition of traditional miniature and calligraphy by Rabia Ashraf at the Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery.The exhibition attracted a large number of people from all walks of life. The visitors liked the different techniques reflected both in calligraphy and traditional miniature art.Rabia Ashraf is a graduate from the NCA and is currently teaching at the same institution. She has proved her skills through a number of similar exhibitions.When asked, Rabia said that her artworks, like that of any other artist, were an extension of herself and her journey through art had run parallel to her journey within herself.Most unique and amazing of all the paintings was the pictorial presentation of Safrul Ishq famously known as Saif al Malook, a Punjabi epic written by renowned Punjabi Sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh.The book in fact contains the crux of the four particular works of four Sufi giants namely Yusuf and Zulaikha by Maulana Jami, Bustan by Saadi Shirazi and Deewan-e-Hafiz and Masnavi by Maulana Rumi.When asked about the unique idea of miniature portrayal of the Punjabi epic, Rabia said, “Firstly this type of experiment was not braved by any other miniature artist before and I strongly believe that the traditional miniature has all the prerequisites of dedication, patience, focus and imagination which are required to express the metaphysically mystical themes expressed by the Sufi poet.” Rabia Ashraf is also working on further elaboration of the same work in her doctoral programme. The exhibition is on till September 18 and is open to the general public.The artist is confident that her work will connect some of the people to the legacy of the Sufi thought in our region.The NCA has been the oldest and the strongest institution responsible for nurturing our rich history of virtual arts including calligraphy and miniature painting. Both these subjects comprising different techniques reflect Islamic as well as cultural values and trends that have tremendous recognition in the international art market. Published in Daily Times, September 14th 2017.