Art and Peace in Kashmir

20th November 1997
Times of India

Even if the peace process in Kashmir is taking long to fructify, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah is determined to make a beginning with art. Kashmir was one of the first states in the country to hold art camps but thanks to the political turmoil, the last one was held more than eight months back, when the J&K department of Art and Culture held a 10-day art camp at Pahalgam in which some of Delhi's top artists took part. These included Jatin Das, Manu and Madhvi Parikh, Veer Munshi, Bulbul Sharma, Shamsad and others. Although the lush scenario of the hills was inspiring, the artists were all too conscious of the protective army personnel all around them. Till the soldiers got totally interested in the artists' works and "even started making suggestions as to what colours and lines we should add," exclaims Bulbul Sharma.

The picturesque surroundings inspired the artists' works. The parikh couple created landscapes and the still lifes, Jatin Das was inspired by the phiran, Veer Munshi painted an elegant raven, while Bulbul Sharma's Chinnar Dream consisted of intricate leaves carved out on on wood-cut. The paintings were displayed at an exhibition which attracted a lot of attendance and was followed by a 10-course Wazwan feast. The artists found the camp an immensely pleasurable experience and declared that Kashmir was still a paradise, more so now because there were no tourists.

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