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An introduction to Sadequain, Chughtai

An introduction to Sadequain, Chughtai

ISLAMABAD: On the second and final day of the Children’s Literature Festival in Islamabad, at the Lok Virsa National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Dheere Bolo held a workshop on two Pakistani artists: Sadequain and Chughtai.

Aimen Kazmi, who led the workshop, said they would focus specifically on how both artists drew the human figure. She explained that Chughtai’s work mirrored the style of miniature paintings, and was very detailed.

Sadequain, on the other hand, painted murals. She said that while Sadequain’s figures often looked strange, they were still recognisable as humans.

With more and more children filing into the Arfa Karim room and the art presentation planned by the Dheere Bolo team refusing to cooperate with the projector, it looked like the session, titled, ‘Art Workshop on Sadequain and Chughtai’ might devolve into chaos.

Kazmi and Farwa Zaidi from Dheere Bolo, however, remained calm. Kazmi engaged the students in a discussion about the artist’s perspective, and asked them to make observations about her and a volunteer. Zaidi followed up by teaching the students a children’s song by Dheere Bolo, and soon, the presentation was up and running and the workshop had commenced.

Kazmi explained the concept of ‘blind contour drawing’, where the artist attempts to draw an image without looking away from the subject. She said that while, on the first try, the resulting drawing rarely comes close to looking like the subject itself, if practiced 10 times or more, the final attempt would be detailed and close to perfect.

Volunteers then passed out paper and crayons to the children, who were asked to attempt ‘blind contour drawing’ and recreate one of two sketches projected onto a screen. Some of the children, however, couldn’t fight the instinct to look down at their work, and others, bored of the sketches, took to drawing straight from their imagination.

The two sketches are unnamed sketches, one by Sadequain and the other by Chughtai. Kazmi said that although both artists were known for their paintings, she felt sketches would be easier for the children to work on.

Meanwhile at the Khul Ja Sim Sim room, the book, ‘Bachon key Geet’ - a book of songs for children - was launched and gifted to students who participated in the session alongside the author, actor and musician Khaled Anam.

In a short introduction to the session, CLF organiser and founder of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) Baela Raza Jamil said that she had dreamt of a literature festival for children, and now the festival is in its fourth year. She said: “I now dream that children and teachers will become the ambassadors of this festival, through school schemes that will ensure that children read anywhere between 10 to 30 books, depending on their grade level. The children who read enough books will write a small piece, and will be made ambassadors.”

Anam then performed ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ to thunderous applause, and invited members of the audience to join him on stage and compete to win a copy of ‘Bachon ke Geet’.

Students from schools in and around Islamabad performed various songs, including Indian songs such as ‘Samjhawaan’ and ‘Tum Hi Ho’ as well as Pakistani songs like ‘Hum Sab Ka Pakistan’. The winners were Adiba, who sang ‘Hum Sab Ka Pakistan’, and Moiz Khalid from Lawrence College.

Anam then asked teachers to perform with him, and teachers from schools in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and even Mardan joined him on stage. They performed songs from across the country, including songs in Pashto and Punjabi.

Anam said that while it was good to see a mix of both Pakistani and Indian songs being performed by participants, it was important for people to know of and perform more Pakistani songs.

Anam also engaged the audience with a rendition of ‘Jeevay Pakistan’.

Published in Dawn October 4th, 2015

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