AG opening draws crowds -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

AG opening draws crowds

ISLAMABAD: Finally the long-awaited National Art Gallery (NAG) opened to the general public here on Sunday after its formal inauguration by President General Pervez Musharraf on Friday.

A good number of artists, painters, models and people from all walks of life visited the gallery and appreciated the government for its concern for arts.

Talking to Daily Times, Jamal Shah said that there was need for developing an understanding of art among the people and this gallery would help accomplish this task.

“Art is a tool by which we can create awareness among the masses, but there is need to tell people that it’s something that is in our roots,” he said.

Talking about the performing arts, he said for the time being the open-air theatre and auditorium of gallery would do for this purpose.

“The president has announced a piece of land near Shakarparian for the performing arts where and classes performances would go side by side,” he said. Shah said that the upcoming and new talent would get a fair field, as it was always the quality that mattered.

“In future we are planning to start online classrooms, workshops and lectures to promote art as much as we can possibly do,” he said. Shah pointed out that two or three galleries were yet to be inaugurated.

“Our storage area is yet not complete, but as soon as it completes, the galleries would be opened,” he said.

Renowned artist Salima Hashmi thanked the media for creating an understanding among the public of the necessity of the gallery. “This gallery would definitely help promote art in this country and create awareness of arts among the masses,” she said. Talking about the controversies related to the naming of the gallery, she said all controversies had died their own death, as the gallery had been christened as the National Art Gallery instead of National Institute of Creative Arts.

She said the second thing that arose controversy was the performing arts as part of this gallery but now this matter had also been resolved with the announcement of a separate land for performing arts by the president. Hashmi said that the Ministry of Culture had appointed her as curator of sculpture here and she would try hard to promote the art of sculpture in the country.

Mian Ijaz-ul-Hassan said that this should have happened 60 years ago, as art was the identity of any country and we had been living without this identity. “The art of this country remained a “well-kept secret” because it did not have a proper platform from where it could be recognized nationally and internationally,” he said.

He said the pictorial art of this country was a big example of ignorance by the establishment, which was very unfortunate. “The art displayed in the galleries is partially represented, as it is basically an individual selection of curators, which is not good,” Hassan pointed out.

He said the gallery would serve as a window through which the Pakistani art would be recognized nationally and internationally.

Ghulam Mustafa said that Pakistani art was no less than the art of the other countries but there was dire need for its recognition.

“If government continued supporting us, the art of this country would make its name internationally,” he said. Works of Abdul Rehman Chughtai, Sadequain, Ustad Allah Bakhsh, Haji Sharif, Haneef Ramay, Zubeida Agha, Anna Molka Ahmed and Gulgee have been displayed at the gallery.
Source: Daily Times
Date:8/27/2007