Award-winning paper mache artist makes Srinagar map masterpiece

SrinagarWritten By: Idrees LoneUpdated: Jul 27, 2021, 05:57 PM IST


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Maqbool Jan's  'paper mache' technique is a unique art form which he says should be allowed to flourish in Kashmir Valley.

An award-winning 'paper mache' artist in Srinagar, Maqbool Jan has been making a masterpiece.

He is making a map of Srinagar city on a cloth by using 'paper mache' techniques. He wants to see the masterpiece displayed in the Indian Parliament. 

''My actual wish is that this should be put up in Parliament. Or if they can put it in the Kashmir assembly or a big art gallery. The new generation should see our culture through our art. I would be extremely happy if it was put up in Parliament. It would give a boost to artisans of Kashmir Valley. They would make better things in the future, '' said artist Maqbool Jan.

Maqbool has been working on the map for over a year and says it will take a few more months to complete. The inspiration for the map has come from a shawl which is displayed at the Srinagar museum. The map on the shawl is drawn by Sozni work. He wants to recreate the same with 'paper mache'. 

''I got the idea from a shawl in the museum and wanted to bring that art alive again. I wanted to show how Dal Lake used to be, how old Srinagar looked like and that's the reason I created this. The new generation should take up this art. It took me a year to make this and it will take me a month more to complete this. I thought about the colour scheme first and how water colours used to be. How our shrines and mosques and gardens used to look, '' said Maqbool Jan.

Paper mache artist in Kashmir Valey

There is no school where the art of paper machie is taught to the youngsters of Kashmir Valley. The artists have been demanding that a degree course should be introduced by the institutions of Kashmir Valley to uplift the art form. 

''Our children are extremely talented but we don't have any local designers. We have to get designers from outside, so we want the government to start courses so that students can learn here. Our children want to have a degree before starting work, they don't want to leave education and then pick this up. We want the government to introduce a degree course. They say artists are not respected here,'' said Maqbool. 

The centuries-old art is being revived by artists like Maqbool Jan. He is making sure that this art form survives in tough times and emerges again in the Kashmir Valley.

Maqbool has won four national and one international award for his contributions towards this art.