National convention soon to highlight artists’ role, contribution in society

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Jamal Shah rolls out ambitious plan to revive PNCA

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Director General Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) Jamal Shah on Saturday shared with media his plan, an ambitious yet workable, to revive the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, its visual and performing arts departments and to promote genuine art and artists in society.
In collaboration with the state-run TV and the radio the PNCA is going to launch a talent hunt show ‘Shikaar’ and the young amateur artists will be invited from across the country to participate in this biggest ever talent hunt show of the country, said Jamal Shah. It was the maiden media interaction of the new DG who joined the organization as its head less than a month ago. Appointment of Jamal Shah is seen as the induction of a right man in the right place as PNCA as per its mandate is supposed to promote, preserve and educate in the field of visual and performing art and Jamal Shah is a very well known person in the realm of visual and performing art.
Earlier bureaucrats from Board of Investment and Establishment Division had been running the affairs of the PNCA without knowing what it is meant for. Jamal Shah who is also a good sculptor, while in the media briefing took up the case of sculptors and carvers of Taxila too. They are, he said, presently being exploited by the antique items dealers of the area. “I’ve a plan to organize a workshop for the sculptors of Taxila and make them realize their work is something of high quality and they should not let the traders’ mafia exploit them, said Jamal Shah. About the National Art Gallery which is lying dormant for last many months, Jamal Shah said a number of galleries of the PNCA are currently out of function due to the repair work and very soon he would revive them as centre of best art collections of art. I’ve a plan to enrich the collection of the National Art Gallery and despite the paucity of funds, will see that the gallery has some best collections of the world. For this purpose, he said he would approach the corporate sector to get the galleries’ luster back.
It is a pity, said Jamal Shah that we are a nation with 9,500 years old civilization, in fact the civilization took its roots here in the land of Balochistan but our people are largely ignorant of their rich heritage, said Shah. He said he would also hold music festival and every quarter would like have two such mega programmes to recognize the performing art and the artists. Besides music festival, dance festival will also be held by the PNCA on quarterly basis. To a question, Jamal Shah said these genres of art contribute to making a good human being, one who can absorb the contrary view point and keep us away from the path of intolerance and militancy. However, the priority at the moment is to hold Artists Convention before October 31 and to initiate a debate on the status of artists in society. We shall try to engage the Prime Minister Office in this programme and will take the artists to the Prime Minister House and serve them with dinner. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif will be requested to host the event and address the artists. A charter of demands will also be presented to the honorable prime minister from the artists’ representatives so that this important segment of society may not feel neglected or left over, he said. To a question where the funds would come from, he said acquisition of funds was really an issue as 90pc of PNCA funds are spent on non-development expenditures (salaries and perks) however, he said he would try to enhance the resource base of the PNCA to execute his plan.J

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