J&K's institutions of art, culture in shambles: Ayash

Prominent actor, director and theatre activist, Ayash Arif on Friday accused government of “ignoring” artist fraternity in Jammu and Kashmir—remarking that “institutions of art, culture were in deep shambles.”

Speaking during Natrang’s international theatre talk show, Arif, a noted theatre practitioner from Kashmir, said that while theatre was the mirror of society and artists would raise the social issues for the betterment of people. However the step-“motherly treatment” of the government has left majority of the artists in Jammu and Kashmir ‘starving—who are even struggling the current COVID19 lookdowns.  “If culture is appropriately prioritized both by the government and people, it will definitely yield wonderful results,” Arif said. “It is so sad to see our vital institutions of art and culture in complete shambles,” he said, adding “This is not just affecting the artist fraternity but it is also taking toll on our cultural essence and the fabric.”

He urged government to act as ‘custodians of art’ and lead a remarkable journey—which would go though the annals of history as one of the golden periods for art and artists. “Theatre is a mirror of society, and government must let the artists reflect the true image to its people through artists,” he said. “Some of the institutions are to be patronized for the sake of artists and people at large.”

An ardent dramatist and theatre activist, Ayash considers his responsibility to raise the social issues for the betterment of people. He said that with the mission of the revival of theatre in Kashmir, many movements have to be restarted.  “We have tremendous material to show to the world and our folk theatre carries a very rich legacy,” he said.  He endeavours to contemporize the folk content and take it to rural areas in folk forms so that it is easily grasped by the masses. He expressed his concern over the fact that the new generation of the families of folk performers is getting disillusioned from art and we need to rekindle their interest in it by supporting/patronizing them so that this legacy is preserved for the coming generations.