The recent heavy snowfall might have curtailed public movement badly in Kashmir, but many amateur artists around this time discovered creative ways to keep themselves busy.
Trying their hands on the snow sculpting the amateur artists decked their lawns with amazing art pieces of snow winning accolades on the social media, while some triggered humour.
These art lovers went an extra mile to explore the snow sculpting beyond the traditional snowman. The sculptures of a snow sofa and a table, traditional cooking station, snow cars, tractors were looking realistic with people sitting on them and posing for pictures.
One of the sculptures that went viral was of a car and dinosaur head. On a normal day, a vehicle getting stuck in the snow won’t bring any cheer to your face but this artist had made an art piece out of the same. This artist had used the snow around the car to make a mammoth dinosaur mouth engulfing the whole car. The picture was shared by many social media accounts.
The image of a snow horse sculpture with a rug used as a saddle was another that was highly praised. The picture of kids not only posing with the horse but also sitting on its back was a treat to eyes.
Then there were sculptures of tractors, cars and other vehicles which looked real with people sitting in them and posing for pictures to upload on their social media accounts.
A life size Igloo was yet another attraction. Its makers were Syed Waseem Shah and his family who curated and created it at their Nishat residence. Waseem said the idea of making this life size Igloo had struck him during his trip to Switzerland where a ski resort had come up with Igloo accommodation “in which skiers stay for the night and experience the life of an Eskimo”.
About his ‘project’, he said the soft snow was first tapped to make the base. “A circle of ten feet diameter was drawn to identify and mark the area of the igloo. Snow was then collected and compressed in rectangular blocks of 12 X 18 X 12 inches (L X B X H ) to make snow blocks which are then placed in the shape of the circle drawn.”
“Once the first layer is completed,” he said, “the next layer is stacked on top of the first layer with a slight tilt inwards. The gaps are filled with the soft snow which binds the blocks together. The same process is repeated till an inverted semi sphere is formed.” “All the gaps are filled carefully with soft snow to make the igloo hard and self sustaining. A strength test was conducted with me standing on top of the igloo for around 20 minutes which proved its durability.”
To accomplish the task, others in the family also made a commendable effort, he said. Besides, him his igloo building team comprised of Syed Muhammad Shah (17), Syed Ahmad Shah (15), Syeda Aisha Shah(13), Syeda Aiza Shah (11), Syed Mustafa Shah (6). They all helped with the making of snow blocks and filling the gaps carefully. They also had fun engraving designs on the igloo.”
As the local population was using social media to highlight their plight following the heavy snowfall, they could not scroll down these snow sculpture pictures without expressing their views.
“Amid all the chaos we have something to smile over. Amazing snow art, keep it up”, Irfan Ahmed, one of the Facebook users commented on one such post.
Social Media pages, news portals have been giving their space to such artists which helped the art reach maximum people. “This year we are seeing some amazing art with a good social message. Kashmir is full of young talent doing out of box things,” Rafia, an Instagram user wrote in one such post.
As some people were making these sculptures for fun, some used the same to give social massage. One such sculpture dedicated to COVID warriors was made by Quratul ain Zohra.
Zohra, a makeup artist from Srinagar said that the previous year has been very tough and she thought to use her skills to express gratitude to those who are still fighting the deadly disease.
“I’m fond of trying my hand at art, with the abundance of snow and people making all these beautiful art pieces, I thought why to forget those who are putting their lives at stake for us. I along with my sister and mother made this sculpture of the doctor to give a social message,” Zohra said.
She said that in the art piece she also presented a sculpture representing COIVD vaccine, “It was to represent hope after the tireless fight with the deadly virus,” she said.
As some people used the sculpture for social messaging, people like Nadeem Hussain used his art to make sculpture representing human and animal portraits. His sculpture of Ibn-e-Sina, a 9th century Persian Physician, astronomer and thinker of Islam was highly praised. He also made a sculpture of Simba, a Lion character from a famous Disney movie which went viral.
“For last two years, there have been so many negative things happening around the world and in Kashmir. These small pieces of art are spreading positivity and giving people a reason to be cheerful amid all the gloom. Such activities can really be good stress busters and can help others to inspire,” Nadeem said.
Meanwhile, catching up on the trend J&K Tourism department has decided to organize a ‘snow sculpting competition’ at Gulmarg.
The department has invited entries of ideas for the competition. The officials said the ideas will be received until 10 January and the selected ideas will have a chance to sit in the competition at Gulmarg.
The department has invited ideas related to the Kashmir art and culture in a bid to attract tourism to the famous hill station.