Naveed Aman Khan
ART is not a thing , it is a way. It is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. It enables us to find and lose ourselves at the same time. We go in the background and our creation comes in the limelight. By this we in fact come in the lime light and explore our hidden potential. An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take risk how are you going to make something really beautiful, that has not been seen before? We have our arts so we won’t die of truth. Above all artistes must not be only in art galleries or museums. They must be present in all possible activities. I have not seen any masterpiece book of any great scholar in any art gallery. Is it not an art? All arts are autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography. Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it. Let each one exercise the art one knows.
And lastly, my own take in a recent piece I write for the national endowment for the arts. This is the power of art. The power to transcend our own self-interest, solipsistic zoom lens on life and relate to the world and each other with more integrity, more curiosity, more wholeheartedness. Art is all around us. These are the things people create for others to see and appreciate. Art is not just paintings and sculptures you see in the museum. Art include the music, calligraphy , anthropology, photography and writing masterpieces. The creation of a work of art is the bringing about of a new combination of elements in the medium. Tones in music, paints on canvas , words in literature and so on. Creation is the reformation of pre existing materialso. Art is a way of grasping the society. I as an artiste of words believe portraying picture or scene in words composition is the most difficult art. In the history of mankind we find such immortal personalities still living in our midst through their art of thought. We highly grade Aristotle, Socrates , Plato , Confucius and many more. Their wisdom is art.
Through CPEC and nation to nation contact Pakistanis will be able to know and read a lot about great artistes GU Kaizhi, Zhang Ziqian,Han Gan , Han Huang , Li Sixun, Li Zhaodao ,Wang Wei, Wu Dauzi, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang ,Jin hao ,Liu Songnian and many more of China. We will also find an opportunity to read and learn from the philosophy and wisdom of Zhao Mengfu, Huang Gongwang, Kang Youwei, Xu Jiyu, Dai Zhen, Lin Zexu, Dong Zhongshi,Wei Yuan, Zhao Yong, Zeng Gong, Mao Qilling, Wang Guowi, Liu An, Wen Zhenheng, Tao Zhu, Sima Guang, Cui Weinping, Yu Jianrang, Zhou Ruchang ,Zhao Ting Yang, Liang Siyong, Su Shi, Li Bai, Cao Xueqin, Qu Yuan, Xu Wei, Li Zhi, Sima Qian ,Du Fu Tang Xianzu and Cao Zhi Chinese great scholars of the ages. Like wise Chinese nation will be knowing and learning Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Habib Jalib, Munir Niazi, Ahmad Faraz, Ashfaq Ahmad, Bao Qudsia, Intzar Hussain, Abdullah Malik, Mumtaz Mufti and Wasif Ali Wasif.
Art emerged around fifty thousand years ago as cities and civilizations started emerging. The wall paintings in the Lascaux caves, which so startled Picasso, have been carbon dated at around seventeen thousand years old. Art is vitally important to maintaining broad standards in civilization. Beauty in art is externally subjective. The fundamental difference between art and beauty is that art is about who has produced it, where as beauty depends on who’s looking. Art and culture are real face and introduction of any country and nation. Great nations always honour, value, preserve, promote and strengthen their art and culture. China is one of the most ancient civilizations of the world with its highly valued and rich art and culture. Great nations never let their art and culture vanish at all. Art and culture with the passage of time is always influenced elsewhere. Pakistan and China are two different countries with entirely different society set up, art, culture, norms and values. China is an open society country while Pakistani society is still conservative. About art and culture behaviours of both the societies are different.
The dominant part of Pakistani society is orthodox and declares art and culture immoral and unethical. Pakistani society is yet in the process of transformation. It is experienced and observed that strong art and culture always overlap and swallow week and fragile art and culture. Pakistani society has accepted and absorbed art and culture of West. It reflects that again Pakistani society will get dominated by Chinese art and culture. We Pakistanis need to energise our art and culture not overshadowed. China is spending a lot on the preservation and promotion of its art and culture. Artistes related to art and culture need to be patronised professionally and economically by the governments. I have seen great artistes living hand to mouth with miserable lives in our country. This is all because the concerned organisations, institutions and governments don’t take care of their diverse art and culture of Pakistan. Poets, scholars, writers, musicians, singers, painters, sculptors, calligraphers, photographers and anthropologists are the real picture of any society. We have Sadqain, Abdur Rehman Chughtai, Jamal Shah and tens of great artistes of high level. We are proud of them all.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor is believed to be the game changer. Yes it is. Because of CPEC both of the great countries and the nations are connected to each other. Since independence China Pakistan enjoy strong political and diplomatic bilateral relationship. Then gradually this relation was added with economic ties of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This unprecedented gigantic multidimensional broad-spectrum project has provided people to people contact of Pakistan and China. This nation-to-nation contact will bring positive change in the societies of both the countries. Both the nations will start understanding each other. Chinese are learning Urdu language and knowing diverse culture of Pakistan while Pakistani nation is learning Chinese language and Chinese culture. Pakistan National Council of Arts under the umbrella of its Director General Syed Jamal Shah is struggling hard to portray real positive picture of Pakistan. Political stability, strong economy and peace in the country will open new avenues of splendour and magnificence ahead. Such efforts will move great brains of both of the nations from modest dwellings to more honour and comfort. This is how we will make our nations transformed and twinkling bringing dreams of Quaid-i-Azam and Mao come true.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.