Portraying unrest in Kashmir through medium of art

Burning houses, bodies lying on roads, people in chains, uprising actively participated by women and blood dripping from eyes, these are some of the scenes painted by various artists from the state and outside while highlighting the current unrest in Kashmir.
Portraying unrest in Kashmir through medium of art
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Burning houses, bodies lying on roads, people in chains, uprising actively participated by women and blood dripping from eyes, these are some of the scenes painted by various artists from the state and outside while highlighting the current unrest in Kashmir.

The artists have uploaded the paintings on social media as a mode of protest and to make world aware of the Human Rights violations in Kashmir. 

Baroda based painter Rollie Mukherjee who is known for her paintings on Kashmir was one of the first to paint the agony of Kashmir during the turmoil following killing of HM commander Burhan Wani.  Her paintings have been widely shared and commented on social media.

Describing one of Mukherjee's paintings wherein soldiers can be seen celebrating in the background of a Kashmiri funeral, Dibyesh Anand, a professor of International Relations and Politics at the University of Westminster, London writes, "Rollie Mukherjee's untitled painting depicting the harsh reality of India-Kashmir where mourning and celebration are diametrically opposite."

Another painting titled The Porous Walls too has garnered attention from different quarters. The painting 31×29 inches, according to Mukherjee is a mixed media work, watercolour and wax crayon. "The background shows wooden houses peeled off like "open wounds." All women have come outside, protesting, crying, yelling in deep pain. Their memory is soaked in blood of their loved ones. Blood is dripping from the prisoned homes, the ordinary normal life seems a farce, while everyday brutalities of living under military, where all their rights and demands are curbed. The walls of the houses have become porous with constant intrusion and state surveillance."

US-based social activist Mary Scully who uploaded the painting on her website wrote, "once again the extraordinary political art of Rollie Mukherjee in solidarity with Kashmiri Intifada: a prominent feature of her work is that she puts women in the heart of the struggle, where they are not just to grieve but to participate in the struggle against brutal occupation." Scully further adds that Rollie honors the role of women in her work so that she is not just an artist of resistance to colonial domination but to patriarchal domination.

Mukherjee while replying to comments wrote that she is likely to organize an exhibition of her paintings in Kashmir this August.

Bangalore based Kashmiri Ajaz Qaiser Azad worried by the situation back home expressed his feelings by painting a picture of a person screaming in what looks like extreme pain. While commenting on an oil painting titled 'Pain,' one Shantiveer Koul wrote "Powerful work. I was reminded of 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch." 

Azad while describing his artwork says that the painting is not inspired by anything other than personal pain. "I looked at myself in the mirror and painted it," he wrote while replying to various comments on the painting. Some described the painting as screams of despair while others simply said that it was extremely powerful and evocative.

Farah Syed a medico uploaded a painting inspired by famous World War II picture 'Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.' While describing the painting with inscription Kashmir Bleeding on instagram, Syed writes, "the sham of Indian bravery and security. Unfurling the flag of its democracy over piles of dead bodies of Kashmiris."

Not only paintings but social is also full of creative illustrations depicting pain of Kashmiris and what they term as world indifference.

An illustration by Binish shared on twitter shows a foot of a person wrapped in barbed wire with dripping blood. The artist tries to make a statement by placing the crayons on the illustration titled Kashmir.

On Twitter Tabish Khan has been active with paintings and illustration which have been widely shared. Tabish has uploaded illustration and paintings depicting killing of a protestor, face of a girl pockmarked by pellets, map of Kashmir circled by a snake and others. The artwork by Tabish has been received with pain and prayers from Kashmiris commenting on them.

An illustration by another artist shows the rendered painting of five year old pellet fire victim Nasir Ahmad Khan whose one eye is bandaged with a large inscription 'Why.' An illustration titled Free Kashmir by one Yamin Khan shows Kashmir represented by its map in red under a Jackboot.

Various illustrations have often been combined with poems and couplets. A colour illustration shared on twitter shows the face of a woman dripping blood and below it is written famous urdu couplet, "suna hai bahut sasta hai khoon vahan ka, ek basti jisse log Kashmir kehte hai," (Heard about a place where blood is cheap, that is a habitation people call Kashmir).

As people are forced to stay indoors due to curfew, almost all artists have started to immerse themselves in paintings. As the communication blockade is revoked more such paintings and illustrations will come fore.

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