Painting walls of hope | Pakistan Today

Painting walls of hope

LAHORE – Drive by the wall opposite the centre point, you see monuments painted next to calls for peace, depictions of culture and a call for togetherness. Amidst these paintings of hope, is a painting of an old woman in despondency, a theme the the City District Government Lahore (CDGL), a partner to the project, does not allow. The painting somehow slipped through their gaze. However, Yasir, a chartered accountant, paints what he calls is the true reflection of the society around him. Mudassir, an organiser, says that CDGL strictly forbade them from projecting negative themes – even if they show reality.
Therefore, they chose six ‘positive’ themes: education, peace, culture, hope, monuments and truck art. To this, I wondered if these paintings and painters could hide the truth of what they felt about the society around them. I moved to the next painting. A couple of paintings to the right of the despairing old lady. Three girls and a boy from SIMS are making it. It shows their imagination of the cultures of Pakistan. Baluchistan is on top, Punjab at the right, Sindh on the left and Pakthunkhwa on the bottom. In their constructed imagery, numerous contradictions are revealed.
.The man, who represents Baluchistan, has a huge turban, a jet-black beard and sharp pointed eyes. He looks more like Muhammad bin Qasim than a Baloch. Below it, is the image of the culture of Pakthunkhwa. There is a woman in a full veil, a shoe and a man. That is their connection. I ask one of the girls, Hira, I believe, and she responds, “This is the culture of Pakhtunkhwa. It is repressive.” I ask back, “But there is an alternate tradition; Bacha Khan and the Red Shirts. This tradition is an anomaly.” And she responds, “No, but this is what it is now.”
I wish to ask, “So why did you not represent the present cultures of the other three provinces?” but I let the question fade. She is being true to the Pakthunkhwa she has been introduced to. There is no positive image for her to show. And what of the Baloch? He stands alone with a sarangi and a date tree. “What is Baluchistan?” I ask. “It is this that we depicted,” she says. “It is barren land.” “But what about Sui Gas? Why not make a gas pipeline?” “Yes, we could have,” she says. Her comments reflect a sincere ignorance – only that the space for sincere ignorance appears to have run out.
The next painting I looked at was one that included a sculpture of a village woman with a matka on her head and a luscious flow to her clothes; green and purple, with which stand its makers; students of Naksh College of Arts in the Bhaati Gate, Muhammad Adnan, Rizwan, Ahid Kamran and Tehreem. The conversation with Tehreem remained the most interesting when I asked, “What did you depict?” “Our culture… A village woman… She is beautiful,” she replies. I turn to the boys and ask, “So how many of you would accept such a woman in your college?” They break into a laugh and say, “She would be unique.” I respond, “Yes, she would. You would all laugh.”
To this, Tehreem responds, “Dress does not matter. It is the thought that matters. The thought needs to be modern. The dress can be traditional.” Thus, by positing the dichotomy between dress and thought, Tehreen unintentionally concedes the death of the thought associated with the dress she wishes to preserve. The unrealised irony is in the representation of culture chosen by these children who exhibit only traces of that culture – their creative output is nostalgia, longing and sense of loss. What is it not: a path for the future. However, amongst these paintings, there are articulations of a path for the future. Peace is the symbol that illuminates them. The dove makes an appearance in every second wall painting. Even the attempt by the State to conceal the truth is subverted by the chosen symbols: the painting of the peace of the dove means the rejection of the present violence.
The peaceful dove conceals the vultures that mar the present. The symbol that hides is itself the symbol that reveals. The dove only attempts to neutralise them. Amongst these paintings is another by students of SIMS. Imran, Usman and two more friends combine the dove, the symbol of peace, provinces of Pakistan and the flag of Pakistan. Their message is unity and togetherness. To the right of these, is John Lennon’s famous line, “Give peace a chance,” and to the right of this a local slogan, “The peace sixer (Aman ka chakha)”
Imran explains the idea behind his paintings to me, “The constitution is that that is supposed to unite us. But the whole of Balochistan is against us. It is only by giving them rights that we can bring them together.” “How do we give them rights?” I ask. “The system must change. We have tried this system and its many permutations for 63 years. It is fatally flawed,” he says. “So what forms the basic of this new system that will produce the hope of your image?” I ask. “Communism will not be accepted by the masses. It must be through Islam,” he says. “So you’ve read up on Marxism then I presume?” I query. He turns to show me the hammer and sickle painted onto the back of his shirt and smiles.
I smile inside at the contradiction between his shirt and his speech. But I like his hope. I like that he found his symbol. And I like that he does not stereotype the provinces. He even adds Gilgit and Kashmir to make Pakistan’s six provinces. I look at another painting. There is a woman dressed in village attire opening her hands to the words, “Our culture has been curtained.” Punjab University students Aiza and Zainab make the painting. I go up to talk to them. “What is the idea behind the painting?” I ask. Aiza speaks, “Our culture is in curtains. That is what we are trying to depict. Jeans are acceptable; but, traditional attire is not.” Zainab chips in, “We want to depict the richness of our culture which has been given up by adopting Western culture.” The only thing I find strange is that they tell me the theme they chose was truck art.
…to realise this truth hidden from them: it is not the West that killed culture, it is the modern state… Most are trapped within what Partha Chaterjee (an academic of note in India) calls the postcolonial complex. A class of individuals caught between modernity and tradition. They depict a culture, which is not a part of them. They celebrate the traces of it that they are able to experience. What is worth preserving is worth projecting – but not worth adopting. And I do not blame them for such. I only suggest that there can be better use of these symbols – uses more relevant to a future.
And yes, I never asked the real question I wanted to ask, “Where, in their paintings, were the painters themselves?” Everyone was depicting something without doing what Sadequain was a master in, depicting himself within a painting.
A painting may conceal a painter’s self or reveal it. However, selves were revealed in these paintings but through a process of hiding, the painters showed no such awareness. It is an aside that I admit I am filled with hope as I walk amidst these youngsters who paint. And retain hope that if they keep acting upon the faith they possess they shall surely grow into political and cultural maturity. At the moment, they are beset by the contradictions of their times and trying to answer back (and as a writer I am one amongst them). I reflect on them – and critique them – only because as their brush paints an image onto the wall, they begin to communicate to a public.
Communication is a powerful act. And it is an act that must be reflective. And it is true that these youngsters communicate themselves to the public. And I respond as one of the public: absorbing their ideas and answering back with my ideas.
– The writer is open to discussing his views and can be contacted at [email protected]



Related posts

3 Comments

  1. dewathakur said:

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

  2. dewathakur said:

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

  3. dewathakur said:

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    satta matka http://matkaguru.in

    sattamatka http://matkaguru.in

    satta matka http://sattamatkatrick.com

    sattamatka http://sattamatkatrick.com

Comments are closed.

Top