Neglecting award winning artists

One who has received as many as six awards as an artist of the famous Kashmiri papier- mache, an incredible art work, feels neglected as he switches over from his lucrative art to driving auto ricksaw in Srinagar to eke out a living for his family. Syed Ajaz Ahmed Shah of downtown Hawal , Srinagar has to his credit two state awards, one National award, an award in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an award in Chandigarh , an award in International School Pathways Gurugram and an international award in South Africa but is sore about the Government’s insufficient efforts towards promoting this famous Kashmiri art due to which , as per his contentions, “forcing many like me to give up their passion”. The promises of providing jobs to national award winners could not be met by him as an awarded artist because he was not fulfilling the eligibility criteria of being minimum 10th pass.
While we feel proud of such artists of our State for excelling in their choicest art and craft, we must stress upon the need to encourage such artists considerably who are now fewer than before and should engage them in such ventures which can produce more of Ajazs to keep this craft flourishing. At the same time, we would like to share with our readers the tremendous potential of this beautiful art of making different items of papier machie with exquisite drawings and paintings on them, in international markets. Foreign buyers have a craving for owning a piece or two and most of them visiting the Valley definitely go on buying spree of these items of specialised Kashmiri craft. Since 1990 mainly due to the onset of terror related violence in Kashmir, shut downs, hartals, sense of insecurity etc have had a tremendous impact on the marketing of these unique pieces of papier mache art and Hawal in particular was having many flourishing units of this craft. The fact that more of exhibitions, special markets etc for promoting this craft are currently missing in the valley is mainly because of the disturbed conditions there. Once normalcy returns to Kashmir which is cardinal to this art, it will regain its lost sheen, glory and value. Let us wish that to take place sooner.