Sawar Fatimah, 17, was the youngest among the four artists who showcased their artworks at a two-day long Fine Arts exhibition held at Srinagar’s Tourist Reception Centre.
Fatima, a 12th class student from Bemina, showcased her calligraphies written on pieces of wood and stones and canvas. Her work was mostly based on religious scripts.
She had started doing calligraphy after she was struggling with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I started doing calligraphy to feel at peace. This makes me feel better about myself,” said Fatimah.
The two-days long exhibition, which was organised by Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL) for the promotion of budding calligraphy artists, concluded today. The exhibition was held to showcase the artworks of the artists and to promote the art of calligraphy in Kashmir.
“The initiative is aimed to revive the rich heritage of the region, besides providing a platform to young and budding artists of the Valley to showcase their talent,” said Shahid Choudhary, the CEO of SSCL, according to a press release issued by the Department of Information and Public Relations.
Another artist whose work was showcased at the exhibition was Nadiya Mir, 32, from Kralpora.
“The art of calligraphy has almost died here. Shahid Choudhary organised this exhibition for young artists to feel inspired, to give them a platform and to revive calligraphy art,” she said.
Mir started making calligraphies during 2016, when the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed. “I was bored during those days so I started doing calligraphy on the walls of my kitchen,” said Mir.
The picture of her first calligraphy that went viral on social media inspired Mir to pursue calligraphy as her full time career. “I have done my masters in fashion designing. When I started making calligraphy, I decided that this was what I wanted to do,” she said.
The artist has been writing calligraphies in arabic fonts and has been trying to give the traditional Kashmiri touch by adding designs like paper mache to them. “I mostly write in just diwani font. In this font you feel like the words are dancing,” said Mir.
Mir was invited to showcase her calligraphies for the exhibition by Choudhary after he saw her work on social media.
“I started working on these pieces two months before this exhibition and today I am showcasing more than thirty pieces here,” said Mir, who had sold around ten pieces on the second day of the exhibition. “I sold one of my pieces for 15000 rupees.”
Shafiya Shafi, a 26-years-old art teacher from Srinagar showcased her paintings, calligraphies and pottery in the exhibition as well. For Shafi, putting price tags on her art pieces is difficult. However, to keep working independently an exhibition was a good opportunity, said Shafi. “My art pieces are like my babies. I don’t recreate my pieces,” she said.
Among other art pieces were some of Shafi’s most precious ones including “Transitions” — a multicolored painting about the different colours and faces of humans. The other paintings included “Fallen angel” and “Drowning mermaid” — two of her paintings based on the concept – “soul of women”. “Being a woman, I feel the urge to tell the story of women through my work,” she said.
Syed Aleeza Balkhi, a 19-years-old bachelor’s student, whose work was also showcased has been making miniature paintings and mandalas for over two years. “Making mandalas is soothing for anxious minds. Mandalas is basically the Buddhist art. They used to practise it and they would feel at peace,” said Balkhi. “You do it for spiritual purposes as well.”
Balkhi believes that more exhibitions should be organised for young artists like her to support their art.
“People from the community can get to know me through an exhibition like this. And when that happens, you get a place in the community, you get to show and tell what you feel,” she said. “It makes me believe that my work speaks to people.”