Paintings on Margalla Hills National Park reflect beauty, apathy

Pakistan Mountain Festival

Staff Reporter

As many as 17 large size oil-on-canvas paintings reflecting the beauty and apathy of the Margalla Hills National Park put on display at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
The exhibition is the outcome of a live-painting competition for the art teachers organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) with the support of the UNDP Pakistan Environment wing in connection with the 7th Pakistan Mountain Festival, an annual flagship event of Devcom-Pakistan to mark the International Mountains Day.
The best five paintings were awarded with cash prizes, certificates and shields by the UNDP Pakistan. The top five winners of the competition included Maryum Rasul, Saima Ashraf, Abeera Habib, Muhammad Adnan Hafeez and Riffat Ara Baig respectively. The jury comprised well-known artist Nahida Raza, Dr Surriya Chaudhary, the Head of Fine Arts Department Fatima Jinnah University, and Devcom-Pakistan Director Munir Ahmed.
Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Pakistan, and Agostino Da Polenza, a globally known Italian mountaineer and president of the INGO EvK2CNR, gave away the prizes to the winners at an event organised by the UNDP Pakistan, Devcom-Pakistan and partners to mark the International Mountains Day at the PNCA.
Briefing about the painting competition, Devcom-Pakistan Director and Founding Director Pakistan Mountain Festival Munir Ahmed said, “The objective of the activity was to capture the beauty and the biological diversity of mountain environment as well as to reflect the challenges confronting the Margalla Hills National Park.
The competition was a rare opportunity for the very busy female art teachers who hardly find time to continue exploring their own creative passion. Most of the time, they are teaching and grooming their students and taking care of their families. On-the-spot painting for art teachers was a creative retreat and continuity of their expression for the projection and mainstreaming of the mountains ecosystems. I believe that art can be used in multiple ways to enhance aesthetics in society leading to conservation and protection of nature to cleansing of the social environment.”
He said, “Environmentally sensitised teachers especially those teaching art can give a push to the environmental conservation efforts through aesthetically enriched visuals. There is need to engage and sensitise teachers their active role in the conservation efforts. A sensitised teacher is more effective than anyone else in the society because of the social status that a teacher enjoys in the society.”
Riffat Ara Baig, the coordinator of the competition, said “It was quite unusual for the art teachers to take part in the competition when they organise such events for their students. Competing to explore and recognised for their creativity as experienced teachers and practicing artists, the response has been very exciting and encouraging. The enthusiasm of the art teachers showed their passion to be competitive even at this phase of life.”

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