French embassy’s outer wall turned into an attractive work of a public art mural

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Zubair Qureshi

The otherwise concrete, abrasive rather ‘boring’ 90-feet long boundary wall of the French Embassy in Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave is now a public art mural attracting the visitors, staff of the embassy as well as the visa seekers who can enjoy the unique calligraphic art of Zahid Mayo and his team of artists from Lahore.
It is now a creative masterpiece as the five-member team spent ten days over this project assigned by the Embassy of France.
These artists are from the Institute of Art & Culture (IAC) Lahore and they had come all the way to embellish the long boundary wall of the French embassy with colourful text and words of Victor Hugo, Allama Mohammad Iqbal and other French and Pakistani intellectuals, thinkers.
While talking to Pakistan Observer, Zahid Mayo said the text selection was based on the national writings of poets and writers of both the countries.
“We had chosen some of Iqbal’s poetic verses and later held meetings with the Ambassador Dr Marc Barety and Cultural Consular Andre da Bussy who further guided us regarding the selection of texts. They gave us a few translations from French literature translated into Urdu language. Then we juxtaposed both the countries’ texts into composed visuals on the wall,” he said.
The two lead artists Zahid Mayo and Tayyaba Sabir were supported by the volunteers Rabia Tayyab and Hussnain Sabir to complete the project before Bastille Day ie July 14.
When asked how they found their way to Embassy of France, he told Ambassador of France Dr Marc Barety met them a few months back at an exhibition. “He liked our work and asked us to do something for the French embassy and we agreed.
Zahid Mayo, who is a visual artist based in Lahore and recaptures public art mural in urban areas and suburbs of the city further told it was a Public Art project done on the boundary wall, a pathway where people go there for visa applications.
To a question, how a wall, an object of concrete and cement could be changed into public art mural he said it was all power of art that can transform anything into valuable experience.
Tayyaba Sabir, his fellow artist is also a visual and textile artist and fresco conservator based in Lahore.
She has done her Masters in visual arts from BNU. She also uses text in her work. Currently she is exhibiting her work in different galleries.
The volunteers Rida Fatima is a multi media consultant based in Lahore, Hussnain Sabir is a student volunteer from Lahore for this project and Rabia Tayyab a student.
According to a senior embassy official, Ms Veronique Wagner every year the embassy uses the occasion of the National Day of France to encourage young artists of Pakistan so that people could know about their talent. At the Bastille Day reception, Minister Mukhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar awarded these artists for their wonderful work, said Ms Veronique.

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