Kashmir sans an art gallery worth even a name!
Work on Tehzeb Mahal yet to resume after 2014 floods; Artists aghast
Srinagar, Jul 19: Kashmir being an artistically rich place has no proper space for showcasing and promoting the rich art of the artists here.
Interestingly, Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state have got their own art galleries. But when it comes to the Valley, the place desperately lacks an art gallery where artists could showcase their work.
Each year scores of students graduate from the Institute of Music and Fine Arts (IMFA) of Kashmir University (KU) and subsequently get their Masters and still higher degrees from various institutes outside the state. But upon their return here, if they wish to display their art works here, there is no place to do so.
“It is ironic that despite of having a rich art history, the region still does not have a place for exhibiting our indigenous art works. Each year our students produce good artworks, but they have no platform to showcase the same,” said Shaiqa Mohi, Principal, IMFA.
The principal regretted that despite raising the issue time and again with the authorities, nothing has been done in this regard.
While talking about the approach of government towards art in Kashmir, she said that till now no government has been serious enough to take some concrete measures for establishing an art gallery in Kashmir.
“Every state in the country has a policy for facilitating space for its artist, but it is not a case in Kashmir.”
Interestingly, the process of establishing an art gallery in Kashmir started way back in 2013, and then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also laid the foundation stone of Tehzeeb Mahal, a multi-facility building meant for art gallery and other art-related activities. The project was supposed to be completed by 2016. However, the construction work was put on halt.
“The construction work for Tehzeeb Mahal was stopped after 2014 floods and is yet to resume. The political differences between two successive regimes also became a hurdle in the completion of Tehzeeb Mahal,” said a faculty member at IMFA, adding that it is a high time that “our new generation artists” be given a space for showcasing their talent.
The field of art work being neglected by the government and society altogether makes it difficult for the young artists to create space for themselves.
Taking to the ‘Kashmir Images’, the students of Fine Arts at Kashmir University expressed their anguish over the lack of an art gallery.
“The biggest encouragement for an artist is when people see and admire his/her work. How can we grow when we have no proper space to present our work? Social media may help us in reaching to an audience but showcasing the work in a gallery gives much more satisfaction and has its own essence and meaning,” said a student of Applied Arts.