Aijaz Anwar documents cultural legacy of Lahore
* Lashari says government needs to protect old buildings
* Artist calls for efforts to preserve old cities
By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: An exhibition of watercolour paintings titled ‘A tribute to Old Lahore’ by renowned Lahore-based artist Dr Aijaz Anwar started at National Art Gallery (NAG) on Saturday.
Islamabad Chief Commissioner Kamran Lashari inaugurated the exhibition, held in memory of Anwar’s teacher Sir Bernard Feilden (1919-2008).
Anwar in his 30 paintings on display has beautifully depicted the surroundings of historical city of Lahore. He has portrayed socio-economic life of the old city in his paintings titled ‘fruit sellers’, ‘Nihal Chand Jharoka’, ‘Jehanzeb Block’, ‘Basant over Qila Gujjar Singh’, ‘Urdu Bazaar’, ‘Mohallah Mohlian’, Kutcha Pir Shirazi’, ‘Gawalmandi Jharoka’, ‘Bradlaugh Hall’, ‘Muzaffar Mansions’, ‘Dinga Singh’, and ‘View of Qila Gujjar Singh’.
The paintings narrate the history of Lahore in a pictorial form and reflect the socio-cultural realities of that age. Anwar has brought out the jewel-like intricacies of carvings, mouldings, balconies and doorways in even the most decrepit structures. His paintings evoke a strong urge to protect, preserve and document this rich cultural legacy.
Anwar travelled through the narrow lanes of the old city of Lahore, where ‘old’ is synonymous with the colonial architecture of the British Raj.
Anwar has exhibited his works in Pakistan and abroad extensively, and his works are in the permanent holdings of museums and private collectors. In 1997, the government awarded him with the President’s Medal for Pride of Performance, the highest official accolade for an artist in Pakistan.
Talking on the occasion, Lashari said the works of Anwar provided them an opportunity to go through the real image of old city of Lahore. “Anwar is playing a magnificent role in reviving the old culture and life of Lahorites through his brush strokes. He has candidly displayed the magic of living standards and traditional values of Lahore,” he said, adding, Anwar’s works surely promoted the dying culture to attract tourism.
Lashari said the government needed to make efforts for protection of old buildings, which are symbol of our cultural heritage.
PNCA Director General Naeem Tahir said the exhibition was all about old values and traditions of Lahore city, which is called heart of Pakistan. “We all must appreciate Anwar who tried to convey a message to protect and conserve old buildings and old traditions of golden era.
Anwar lamented that today only few buildings were in tangible form. “I request the government and the authorities concerned to make concrete efforts for the conservation of cities. For this, conservation societies must be set up in all cities of Pakistan,” he said.
“Such exhibitions are good to highlight life and culture of our own cities. They also help promote tourism,” said Sumaira Kanwal, a visitor to the exhibition.
Anwar would conduct a workshop on ‘Art of watercolour paintings’ on February17-19, while this exhibition would continue till March 29.
Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan