First-of-its-kind Stone art exhibition mesmerises visitors

Manzoor Bhat of Ganderbal displays his unique work | Diversity of subjects in his art truly exceptional: Saleem Beg
First-of-its-kind Stone art exhibition mesmerises visitors
GK Photo

Srinagar, June 10: The first-of-its-kind two-day Stone art exhibition was inaugurated at Government Arts Emporium here on Saturday.

Captivating stone art paintings by Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, who is Kashmir’s first stone artist were displayed at the exhibition.

The exhibition, organised by the Department of Handicrafts and Handloom Srinagar, was inaugurated by Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce Vikramjit Singh. Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah was also present. The exhibition showcased the incredible talent of Bhat who is a resident of Ganderbal district. A large number of people visited the exhibition. They were greeted by an array of captivating art works. One interesting feature of the exhibition was live demonstration by the artist on how he prepares the art material out of stones through the process of crushing and beating. Then he creates different shades by using admixtures. This maiden stone art exhibition marked a significant milestone in the journey of promoting the unique art in Kashmir. The event showcased the immense talent and potential that exists among youth of Kashmir.

Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce Vikramjit Singh expressed his admiration for the artistic treasure that Kashmir holds. He emphasised the government's commitment to provide a platform for such talented artists.

Director Handicrafts and Handloom, Mehmood Ahmad Shah, stressed upon the importance of such exhibitions in promoting art and artists. Shah said that the aim of organising this exhibition was to promote art in Kashmir and provide a platform for young artists to showcase their talent.

 “This is kind of a unique art and it deserves recognition and platform. We want people to come over here, get inspired and buy these paintings which will subsequently encourage the young artisan and empower them financially,” Shah told Greater Kashmir at the event.

"We are determined to bring to light the artistic treasures that often remain unnoticed. This exhibition is just beginning, and we have plans for more exhibitions in the future to celebrate the rich artistic heritage of Kashmir" Shah said.

 On the occasion Convener INTACH, M Saleem Beg said this unique art exhibition provided young art loving people to exhibit their talent and to display it before the world. “Diversity of subjects in his art forms is truly exceptional. We hope such events will continue in future so that more art lovers will join and promote the art in the public domain,” he said.

“Stone art, one of the more intricate mediums in the range of mediums like color stone, block wood metal used by artists has somehow not been used so far by Kashmiri artists. Bhat is a unique artist who uses colored stones from our streams and river beds mostly from Sindh and its tributaries. He has created some unique pieces of art in this medium with great finishes and attention to detail,” Beg said,

He said diversity of subjects in his art forms evoked appreciation from visitors and experts. “The landscape depicts mountain frames, rivers and lake views in stone, all in natural colors or mixtures that give a depth to each of the objects. The artist has also practiced with a combination of stone and driftwood which perhaps is an exercise practises for the first time. Other pieces of interest were the stone engravings calligraphed on round and oval stones available in the mountain streams and the Sindh river bed. The natural form of the riverbed stones has been used in a manner that retains its natural form” he added.

Bhat hailed Director Handicrafts and Handloom for his encouragement and providing art spaces for artists to showcase their work.

He is a passionate artist who collects rocks from different mountains, skillfully grinds them in a mortar at his home, and extracts vibrant, natural colors to create his art on a board. “My dream of holding an exhibition of artistic skills has come true,” Bhat said.

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