Over 600 artworks in different formats went on display at the ninth National Art Exhibition.
The exhibition opened at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Tuesday evening and was inaugurated by the Minister of State for information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyam Aurangzeb.
The two-month-long exhibition is dedicated to nine legendary artists of Pakistan including Ahmed Khan, Bashir Ahmad, Colin David, Hajra Mansur, Ijazul Hassan, Mansur Rahi, Iqbal Geofrey, Saeed Akhtar and Zulqarnain Haider.
As many as 556 paintings and 140 sculptures and installations by 384 artists from all over the country have been included in the display.
These works were selected from the regional exhibitions which PNCA had organised over the past several months.
The themes of the regional exhibitions were quite different this time with artworks from Mehergarh to Quetta, From Harappa to Lahore via Katas, From Akra to Peshawar via Takht Bai, From Mohenjo-Daro to Karachi via Makli, and From Takhtbai to Islamabad.
The exhibits reflected regional cultural signatures along with various techniques. Every school of thought and style of painting is well represented in the exhibition from impressionists to surrealist landscapes, miniatures, calligraphic paintings, abstract art, drawings in charcoal, video Installations, 3-D art in the form of reliefs and sculptures.
‘Situation 101’, a contemporary creative installation by Jamal Shah which was earlier displayed at the Karachi Biennial, was the centre of attraction. It has 101 sculptures in a very oddly humble situation with a 25 feet high cage.
The installation is a bold reflection of the entire nation being fooled by the influential.
While inaugurating the exhibit, Aurangzeb said the government was striving to restore peace in the country so that the citizens could expand their professional work while artists could explore their creativity. “Some interventions are in the process which would boost the performing and visual arts in the days to come.”
PNCA Director General Shah said that the exhibition coincides with 70th Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan.
He added that after a gap of 13 years, the exhibit was being held as a regular, annual event. He went on to explain that in the build-up to the event, the PNCA had organised a series of regional exhibitions representing all provinces to select works for the national exhibit.
Shah added that the recurring theme of culture was the single threat which connects the work of artists from different regions of the country apart from becoming a point of intersection for viewers.
The exhibition, he added, represented the land, life, people and the cultural diversity of Pakistan.
There seemed to be a major tilt towards artists from Sindh and Punjab which saw 110 artists sharing 150 works of art and 114 artists contributing 140 pieces of art respectively. As many as 111 artists from federally administered territories contributed 140 pieces of art.
Balochistan had the least representation with only 22 artists participating, contributing with 40 pieces of art. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was little better with 27 artists contributing 49 paintings.
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