A visit to the National Art Gallery

A few weeks back the National Art Gallery opened its doors to the public near the Parliment house. It has managed to attract quite a number of people.After seeing the advertisement in the newspapers and hearing about it from several people I decided to pay visit to the gallery.
It was totally different from what I expected. A you approach the entrance of the vicinity you are greeted by a sentry of seven large black statues of burqa-clad figures, haunting and dementor like. On close inspection it was found that they are made from fibreglass although from a distance they seem to be made from charcoal.
The gallery which took over more than two decades to be materialized now houses 600 works of art featuring 126 artists. Grouped in 16 exhibitions with each hall dedicated to a certain subject.

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Photogragh: Aamir Qureshi
There are several internees around the gallery who can explain to the visitors what the painting and the sculptures depict. Although most of the time I did not find them helpful. The room which was dedicated to love was perhaps the most controversial of the exhibitions( or may be the hall at the top floor) where some paintings displayed nudity. This was totally out of the blue for me and many other who would expect strong censorship.
I was totally taken by surprize when I saw a several paintings depicting homosexuallity. I wonder why the mullahs haven’t criticized yet? I was also appalled to see that the paint on the wall was already getting scraped off due to the water getting leaked from the ceiling in room of the miniatures.
Although the general effort in bringing all these pieces of art together at one place is very much appriciated and is a visual treat for the art lovers.
The Art Gallery opens at 11a.m. Theres no ticket from 11a.m to 2p.m and later when it reopens at 3pm there is some sort of ticket.
And do remember that when you go into a hall that has this sound which is quite irritating dont keep wondering what it is. The sound coming from the speakers is the sound of childeren reciting Quran mechanically in congregation. I found this later from a news paper.

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Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP

23 Comments so far

  1. IUnknown (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

    mullah ab kis kis cheeze ki critize karey. kuch khud bhe sharam kero.

    Apna naam diakho , aur apni harkatien diakho


  2. Omer Farooq (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

    Perhaps you haven’t understood what I wrote!


  3. JayJay (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    Maulana Omer Farooq

    A single visit to an art gallery is not enough to turn someone into a seasoned art critic. Rather than appreciating the artist’s idea, message and efforts, you seem to be indulging in nitpicking by scorning over ‘nudity’ and demanding mullahs’ actions on work of art. Well, you were visiting the National Art Gallery, a home of creativity and inspiration, but had no stomach to value the work of display. Stay clear of that place in future.


  4. IUnknown (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

    at last , i hear the comment from one of the most stupid persons.


  5. SELF (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

    We are a nation that sympathises with murdering Lal Masjid Mullahs but scorn on harmless piece of wood/stone.


  6. Pak_Stallion (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    It is very interesting to see a criticism on “Arts” by an armature. It is indicative of the lack of appreciation and slavery of thought processes in our society.

    I ask Mr. Omer & the Mullahs to go and take action against the dead bodies in the morgues, as those bodies are also “nude” – Take action against the doctors when they operate on a “nude” body. The expression of thoughts must start from its freedom. You come nude in this world & you go nude but in the middle you have a problem?

    I urge Mr. Omer to first learn about freedom of thoughts and forms of expression. Then learn about ethical & moral values, then and only then dare to make an attempt to criticize creativity and dont forget that the greatest creator is God.

    About the seven burqa figures in front of the gallery, I would assume that you made an incorrect judgment. I think someone should contact the artist and find out the true meaning behind those seven figures.


  7. IUnknown (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    “I ask Mr. Omer & the Mullahs to go and take action against the dead bodies in the morgues, as those bodies are also “nude” – Take action against the doctors when they operate on a “nude” body. The expression of thoughts must start from its freedom. You come nude in this world & you go nude but in the middle you have a problem? ”

    You are totally dumb. kabhi zindagi main masjid gaye ho? (except eid and juma )


  8. ALLKNOWING (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

    “You are totally dumb. kabhi zindagi main masjid gaye ho?”

    Why? Do you find there nude mullahs indulging in orgies with their students? Keep you masjid to you.


  9. Nosheen (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

    Jay jay and all knowing: well thanks for revealing your nudity by the way u have made some pieces of artistic comments.it is very rightly said that words are one of the best way to express one’s perosnality .Thank you both of you .

    The name :All knowing” do not use it.it’s only and only Allah who is all knowing.just a piece of sweeet advice rest i leave to u .

    Omer never mind ,i agree with your comments.Your words are your purity of soul.keep it up.


  10. ALLKNOWING (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 4:51 am

    Nosheen: Keep your myopic patronizing to yourself. Nobody, as far as I know and that I am all knowing (take that, again), has given you an authority to police people’s morality.

    My ethics are my ethics, and yours your.

    I will again say to anyone who finds any form of art (especially the one worshipping nature in its basic forms) offensive to stay clear of the art gallery. Narrow and ill-informed criticism of art is no differnt to blowing up of Bamiyan Budhas or a recent attempt of similar kind in Swat by the Taliban.


  11. Nosheen (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    Allknowing : LOL on you that’s it.May u reach all the levels of your morality.
    You are 100 % correct I am not being a police to any one’s morality it’s my opinion and i am having full freedom for that.I believe truly in that i am no authority because God is the only authprity all knowing all seeing and i am definitely no authority he is the only one. u can’t take it so don’t .


  12. Omer Farooq (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

    I think the post was as neutral as it can be! Why fight over whats wrong and right.
    And I dont understand one thing that why do the people who call them selfs librals critisize the people who are more inclined towards fundamentalism when everyone has a right to freedom of expression?


  13. JayJay (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

    Omer: [re your question] Criticism is also a manifestation of freedom of expression. In fact, nothing is sacrosanct enough not to justify critique. The difference is that people inclined to buy into religious theories are perhaps more averse to criticism as they fear a critique might weaken their long-held value.

    In my opinion criticism is the first step towards improvement as it brings forth opportunities to reform, refine and streamline by highlighting weaknesses and flaws. Accepting and learning from criticism gives one’s mind a chance to review theories, notions, beliefs, processes, decisions etc that one takes for granted otherwise. Criticism is the basic ingredient for logical and reason based thinking. In short, criticism is good.

    As you may find in my first comment that I had only tried to point out your inexperience and naivety (as reflected in your post) to you in the matters pertaining to art. If you now read a bit about arts, sculpting and painting, you may find your opinion on the pieces at display slightly different. It will give you a fresh perspective. And after reading on art, if you get a chance to interact with an experienced artists or an art critic [read a few reviews on an exhibition preferably in English press – Indian and British reviews are better than Pakistani one both content and expression-wise], your appreciation of art pieces may change further. Although I have not met her recently, I will suggest you see Musarrat Nahid Imam at the National Art Gallery to learn about the finer points of arts. I will love to read your review of the pieces at display there once you go the gallery armed with knowledge about the subject. Nudity might not nudity any longer to you.


  14. IUnknown (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

    “Nudity might not nudity any longer to you. ”

    WoW Mr.Brainless, do u always see ur mother and sister nude?? as u will not call it nudity . u cheap guy.

    All ex-muslims!! plz refrain from speading shit by ur mouth .


  15. ALLKNOWING (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 4:36 am

    Iunknown: Thank you for above comments. You have only gone on to confirm what the world thinks of staunch Muslims like you and their creed. Your being a perfect role model for your group. It is a pleasure to see you perfecting the art (pun intended) of coming up with foot-in-the-mouth statements.

    There is difference between nudity and vulgarity, though I doubt you will have that much cerebral capacity to appreciate it. Your comment to another poster: “do u always see ur mother and sister nude??” is vulgar, are therefore highly condemnable; the depiction of body curves on the canvass is not.


  16. Omer Farooq (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 10:03 am

    @ Jayjay
    I am 19. I dont like arts! Although I do like and appriciate radical building architecture.
    Anyway people theres no need to fight.


  17. IUnknown (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    @exmulim, @jayajay,@allknowing: so shud i get that u dont feel any shame in seeing the curves of ladies at ur home????


  18. SELF (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

    All ex-muslims!! plz refrain from speading shit by ur mouth .

    Posted by: IUnknown at September 13, 2007 05:11 PM

    You upset at loosing Mullahs’ monopoly over this?


  19. SELF (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

    Nosheen, looking forward to YOUR review of the gallery.. :)

    …but don’t take a match and canister of petrol just yet.. who knows you may like something… :P


  20. Nosheen (unregistered) on September 17th, 2007 @ 11:55 am

    SELF: so sweet of u.NOSHEEN EXCLUSIVE REPORT. coming soon (teeli laganay kay lieye telli aur petrol ki zaroorat nahin.that’s not what is intelligence. see my majic casted by my lines.(really In the line of Fire):P


  21. fatima (unregistered) on September 21st, 2007 @ 1:10 am

    Art,sculpture is of course a medium of expression, but if u r displaying it for general public , it should b according to the norms,culture,codes of society. Pak artists r not short of ideas anywayz…. even love can be portrayed in a modest, palatable manner.

    u see, nudity in art has no limit….. if u allow this today, more ,ll come tomorrow.

    isnt it a kind of extremism? u r condemning extremism openly on one end but allowing on the other end.


  22. SELF (unregistered) on September 21st, 2007 @ 4:35 am

    Faitma, culture evolves and art contributes to the evolution.

    As far as I can tell from pictures its not nude-nude, only nude-ish. Not at the top of my TO-BURN list.


  23. Abrarism (unregistered) on September 28th, 2007 @ 1:15 am

    Hey..i went to art gallery today speially to see that Boys reciting Quran wala section.well its a very interesting thing they have put on display…there is a hanging structure which comes to your head level…it is a circle and in it there is another circle..there are minor speakers in it…when u enter it, u feel like u r in some masjid / madrassha and boys reciting quran and you can hear a 3-D sound affect with each boy in his own distinct voice coming from a distinct angle..as u move inside the direction and voices change…very interesting phenomenon! i think i couldnt explainded that properly, u should go and see it your self :)



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