Valley artist turns ‘stigmatized’ stones into objects of art

Valley artist turns ‘stigmatized’ stones into objects of art

Mansoor Altaf

Srinagar, Sept 5: It is hard to think of stone, which has become symbolic of stone pelting in Kashmir now-a-days, as an object of art. Well this is exactly what national award winning artisan, Nazir Ahmed has achieved through his art work.

“My only motive to transform a stone into an art form is to give a message to youth that we can use a simple stone to bring prosperity instead of destruction,” says Nazir.

The young artist has named his pebble work as ‘Stone Naqashi’ and resembles popular handicraft of the valley, Paper Machie.

It is for the first time that pebbles are being used as an art form by any Kashmiri artist, and according to Nazir, it possesses the same beauty as any other handicraft product.

This miniature art can serve the purpose of an eye-catching showcase display item as well as a valuable paperweight.

Working at one of the stalls at the Craft Bazaar, currently underway at Kashmir Haat in Srinagar, Nazir showcases message of peace symbolized by the decorated pebbles.

“These stones can certainly act as an ideal gift for family and friends. These are symbols of peace and friendship,” he says.

At the inaugural function of the 15-day craft bazaar organized by Dastkari Haat Samiti, the stones adored with beautiful floral designs were presented in gift packs to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who was the chief guest on the occasion and other dignitaries including Industries Minister S.S. Salathia and Chief Secretary Madhav Lal.

The gifts were presented by the former Samata Party leader, Jaya Jaitley, who is also the president of Dastkari Haat Samiti.

The pebbles are easy to procure in Kashmir and there is almost no investment required, and through them Nazir finds the “freedom” of exploring the unique art and his ability.

“When you are drawing on canvas it is all your creativity as the canvas doesn’t have its own character. But each pebble has a different texture and shape. As a result, you create art keeping the pebbles in mind. There is no uniformity in the kind of art that can be created on pebbles,” he elaborates.

Juggling the decorated pebbles in his hands, Nazir says, “A stone turned into a decorative article reflects hope of those who want to see the people happy.”

Dastkari Haat Samiti provided Nazir an ideal platform to exhibit his talent.

“As part of our endeavour to revive traditional art forms, we are encouraging artisans to relook into the opportunities provided by the place surrounding them. Transforming a simple pebble into artistic figure is an attempt to put forward the different dimensions the same thing possesses,” says Jaitley.

With an aim to improvise, the Samiti is working to make both the art and artists visible in the eyes of common people.

“Our improvised products aim at bridging the gap between the art and people. This way the art reaches to the lives of common people. With this art form, a stone instead of being a symbol of violence can be an epitome of peace and prosperity,” she adds.

[Rising Kashmir]

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