Painting ‘Maintain the biodiversity of magnificent Hopar Valley’ by Tahir Bilal Umii. Credit: Gallry6
Gallery6 takes initiative to provide relief to 1,000 needy families and artists
By Farman Ali
Islamabad, April 16: As the country is reeling from the devastating health, economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the poor and marginalised segments of the society are feeling the heat with each passing day due to delay in distribution of relief and economic package.
Photograph ‘dance of clouds on the majestic peak’ by Yasir Mahmood. Photo credit: Gallery6
The crisis is hitting the white-collar segments of society like artists in a bit different manner. Like other social and economic activities, all art galleries have been shut.
One of the most excruciating parts for many of the artists and art lovers is the feeling of helplessness in the face of lockdown and subsequent hardships.
Although staying indoors is the most crucial way to ward off the spread of the novel virus, the artists need some dignified means for their survival.
The situation warrants some thoughtful actions to provide them with some dignified aid.
Gallery 6, one of the prominent art galleries of the capital, has proved to be a godsend for the artists and the needy families. It stands out among the art institutions in contributing towards the much-needed philanthropic work.
The gallery has launched two initiatives to raise funds for deserving families and artists.
Photograph ‘I protect my brother, you protect my environment,” by Yasir Mahmood. Photo credit: Gallery6
The first of these initiatives is online auctioning of paintings launched on April 5. One painting is put to auction every day with a base price of almost one-fifth of its original gallery price as low as Rs6,500. The paintings auctioned till April 16 have fetched over Rs200,000 to arrange a month’s ration for 25 deserving families.
Some paintings and photographs of Hopar valley in Nagar District currently under the cloud of coronavirus have also been put to auction.
A painting titled: ‘Maintain the biodiversity of magnificent Hopar Valley’ by upcoming artist Tahir Bilal Umii done in oil on canvas was auctioned on April 12. The artist who hails from Chakwal and works as a building painter has put on canvas the serenity and tranquillity of Hopar valley.
Four enchanting photographs by Yasir Mahmood, capturing the serenity, biodiversity and life of Hopar Valley are also on auction. The starting price is Rs5,000 ($29) for each piece and bidding will close on Friday at 5pm. ‘Cat-Walk on Green Carpet,” is a photograph of a caterpillar on a leaf, showing the biodiversity, peace and harmony of nature.
Another photograph titled: ‘Verbal historian of eco damages’ is of a local elder in traditional attire is a living history and embodiment of the vanishing humanist traditions and culture. His curious eyes foresee the lurking danger to the pristine environment from intruders and human greed.
Another masterpiece of Yasir on auction is a photograph of a little girl carrying her little brother on her back wrapped with a piece of cloth. The title ‘I protect my brother, you protect my environment,” very aptly denotes the values taught to children how to care for family and nature. She pleads to the visitors to protect the fragile ecosystem.
Yasir’s photograph of a mountain peak very skillfully captured the ‘dance of clouds on the majestic peak’ as if protecting the peak from pollution.
These photographs were taken and paintings done by six artists during an art retreat at Hopar Valley in Nagar District of Gilgit-Baltistan called the ‘land of peaks and glaciers’.
The artists not only captured the features of Hopar Valley working in one of the important snow leopard habitats in GB interacted with the school children and community.
The photographs and paintings were exhibited at Gallry6 in February on the occasion of World Snow Leopard Day arranged by the Snow Leopard Foundation. The artworks highlight threat not only from climate change but also from human activities, the influx of tourists in the area and devastation of the ecosystem of the area.
The artworks of artists so far auctioned included Arjumand Faisal, a noted artist, curator, and social worker, young calligrapher Wasil Shahid, Riaz Rafi, Javed Qamar, Kanwal Zafar and Fareeha Shahid.
The curator of Gallery 6, Dr Arjumand Faisel, speaking to The High Asia Herald said he was looking for more ways to raise funds and hence decided to launch the auction of his paintings at very low prices through the gallery platform.
Dr Faisel, who is also a trustee of the Horizon International Trust, said: “This is a two-pronged approach of collecting money for the people in need and at the same time providing an opportunity for art lovers to buy paintings at substantially lower prices, even lower than the price at which artists give it to the gallery”.
He went on to say “As I floated first my own painting, I started getting calls from several artists that they would also like to donate their paintings for the cause.”
About the relief initiative, he said his Trust had identified over 1,000 families in urgent need of support. The Trust has raised funds to provide one month’s ration or Rs3,000 cash to 500 of these families.
He also said that Wasil Shahid, an Islamabad-based calligrapher, offered the Gallery his services to conduct online classes of calligraphy from his home and donate all fees for the people in need. This news was circulated through the gallery email service and Facebook page, which has received a good response from Pakistan and abroad.
“Through these two efforts, the Gallery not only intends to provide support to the listed 1,000 plus families but also to some of those white-collar artists who are financially crunched and are not in a position to even ask for help,” he noted.
The painting will be delivered to the successful bidder free of cost (in Pakistan) after the lockdown is over.
Those interested to join the bidding for paintings or joining classes should send an email to the Gallery 6 on [email protected] Their action will not only help them but also the families in need.