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'Painting Kashmir's landscape to outside world'

Meet the internationally acclaimed Artist of Kashmir

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Sunday, June 4, 2023

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Kashmir is a home to many artists who have carved immense success at national and international platforms and showcased the unique artwork to global audiences.

Among them is Zargar Adil Ahmad, He started painting at the age of 16 after he was inspired by nature.

Since his childhood, Aadil used to observe his uncle Zargar Zahoor (who is Ex-Dean Faculty of Fine Arts, JMI New Delhi) closely and used to sit with him during painting sessions.

As a child, it had an impact on his mind. During the 2008 unrest, Zargar got more inclined towards painting. He took the brush and started painting. He utilized his more time and made some 150 paintings that year after which there was no looking back.

The 35-year-old artist paints natural surroundings and multiple places in Kashmir, the paintings of which have become very popular among people.

I usually paint landscapes and believe the colour scheme depicts the situation around artist.

I believe in the landscape, I express freely and create environments, figures steal the attention of the viewer,” he said.

Zargar learned from his uncle about know-how and style of painting. In 2011, he conducted a solo exhibition in Kashmir providing a lot of encouragement to him.

So far, the young artist has worked on more than 500 creative art pieces and exhibited his work at many platforms including Australia where his paintings received overwhelming response. His paintings were bought by people across Australia.

I believe that the aim of the artist is not to create for the sake of selling but for the sake of expression only. I used to visit occasionally artists like MA Mehboob,” he said.

Zargar observes the colour scheme of the works of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Monnet as they have also produced landscapes too. “In 2019 and 2020, I had planned for an exhibition but due to the Covid-19 lockdown it couldn’t happen,” he said.

Zargar, has doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Kashmir and currently works as a resource person for Kashmiri Language in the Linguistic Data Consortium for Indian Languages (LDCIL) at Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) Mysore, Karnataka. He said art therapy is a rare concept in the valley and most effective when it comes to mental health.

He has also worked on art therapy in Kashmir with noted Art Therapist, Dena Lawrence, who had come all the way from Australia to teach art therapy in Kashmir some years back.

For Zargar, art is important for survival and believes that a machine does not understand the expression. “The traditional way of doing the painting is different and stroking brush on the canvas is the form of the expression which gives me relief. Kashmir now understands art and its importance in the society,” he said.

I do not follow any art movement but, the influence of the impressionist and expressionist can be seen,” he said.

Aadil Zargar is the third person in his family associated with art. His grandmother Maryam Begum was a voice artist for different radio shows including the famous Zoon Dub (radio program). In 1974, she was awarded Padma Shri.

Adil was inspired by his uncle towards art. “The artistic journey continues every day and I pack my colours and canvas to paint the landscape of Kashmir,” he said.

From childhood, Aadil had a good grasp on drawing and used to paint portraits of eminent personalities like Allama Iqbal during school.

It is the style of the artist that makes him/her unique. When we see work of an artist it is only identified through his work and expression by the audience,” he said.

Every artist is born and painting skills were in me by birth. I have not received any formal education in painting. I am a self-taught artist and worked hard for the same,” Aadil said.

Talking about the scope of painting, he said there is a good scope and there are many sub-fields in it especially applied arts, where artists can make their career.

There are lot of opportunities in painting. Modern technology has added to it. But machines can’t replace the handwork and one can only express by the brush,” he said.

The artist said he has observed that there is no dearth of talent in Kashmir youth when it comes to painting or arts and a lot has changed in the past one decade.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a paradigm shift in arts and painting in Kashmir which was not there before. Now, we come to know about success stories of painters and artists which is a positive sign,” Aadil Zargar said.

As an art lover, he has exhibited his artwork in solo show at Govt. College of Education, M.A. Road Srinagar, in 2011. He also exhibited paintings in a group show organized by “A PATH WITH ART” held at the Institute of Hotel Management, Raj Bagh, Srinagar, in 2012.

He exhibited artwork in group show at International Level held at FREIGHT GALLERY Perth Western Australia, 21 Beach St (opposite east St jetty) Fremantle in 2012 and 2013.

I was a member of ‘A path with Art: Expressing untold Kashmir’ in Collaboration with Hollywood Hospital, Australia (2012-13),” he said.

Besides, exhibitions, Zargar has participated in Art therapy workshop organized by the University of Kashmir and ‘A PATH WITH ART’ held at the University of Kashmir in 2012.

I have also participated in 5-Day State Young Artist Camp at Kala Kendra Jammu and 4-Day State Level Painters Camp at Mansar Lake organized by J&K State Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 2012 and 2017,” he said.

Aadil Zargar was selected among top 16 Artists in the First International Art Competition and Online Art Exhibition 2021 organized by Callisto Art and Culture 2021.

He also participated in Encounter with Colors at Tech Invent 2021, organized by Chandigarh University. He has participated in the Online International Art Relay (Phase 3) by Russia-India Cultural Exchange in 2021.

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