The National Art Gallery in Islamabad, these days, gives a pleasant view with nearly 300 paintings of renowned as well as emerging artists depicting the heritage as well as cultural and religious diversity of Potohar region of the country. The work is diverse, stretches across various genres and, in a thought-provoking and creative way, depicts Potohar region’s cultural heritage. The regional exhibition attracts and encourages visitors to experience the culmination of artistic history and regional talent under one roof.
The exhibition titled From Takhtbai to Potohar is part of the plan of Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) for a national art exhibition portraying Pakistan’s rich culture and heritage. The PNCA planned a series of exhibitions representing all provinces and regions as part of this project. The plan includes six regional exhibitions. From Takhtbai to Potohar is the fourth in the series. Earlier, the PNCA, in different cities, has exhibited the art work From Mehergarh to Quetta; From Harappa to Lahore via Katas; and From Mohenjo-Daro to Karachi via Makli as part of regional exhibitions. While From Aakra to Peshawar via Takhtbai and Silk Route through Karakorum are in the pipeline.
These regional exhibitions have a historical context with reference to land, life and people of Pakistan. Works selected from these will be included in the National Exhibition which is being revived after 12 years. In the past, the PNCA has held regional exhibitions and selected works were displayed at the national exhibition but the tradition was discontinued for many years.
A jury of senior artists will select pieces for the grand show — the 9th National Art Exhibition that would be launched in Islamabad. Later, it will be shown in all major towns of the country. The regional exhibitions, overall, reflect the cultural and religious diversity in Pakistan.
In the Potohar region exhibition, as many as 126 artists have put up their works including paintings in all mediums, miniatures, reliefs, murals, sculptures, installations, digital and graphic prints, photographs and wooden pieces. The participating artists belong to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Jhelum and Attock; and Rawalpindi and Islamabad. These include Hajra Manoor, Mansoor Rahi, Sana Arjumand, Zahidul Haq among others.
The curator of the exhibition, PNCA Director General Jamal Shah, collaborated with several art institutions to collect the work for display. He sought contributions from various renowned and new, emerging artists. The display shows a large spectrum of creative flair and different moods.
“The basic objective of this regionally divided exercise to collect artwork was to give a context to artists and their art.
“We wanted to mobilise artists of all types and kinds from all regions and give their work a context of cultural heritage,” Shah tells TNS, adding, “It was an approach to invite to think what they should do to promote and depict their regional culture and heritage.”
He says the PNCA has engaged with hundreds of artists, from professionals to amateurs and established to new talent, for the upcoming national exhibition. Hundreds of paintings, digital and graphic prints, photographs and different wood-work pieces have been made part of the regional exhibitions to make the exercise more inclusive. “While, more renowned artists will be further engaged in national exhibition,” he says.
Shah says the Potohar region and KP have their own cultural traditions that are spread over centuries and the council tries to connect work on this region to traditions as well as to the new vision and techniques.
“Such exhibitions are designed to promote and celebrate regional treasures. The effort is meant to educate and acknowledge the rich creative sensibilities and intellect of our sensitive minds,” Amna I Pataudi, the PNCA director Visual Arts Division states. It also encourages the critics and historians to document the creative excellence and achievements of our artists.
The Potohar region exhibition in PNCA will continue till September 10, with chances of extension in the date