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Jaisalmer Yellow

Uniting the Artists of South Asia

Ershad Kamol

Nepal in Jaisalmer, Acrylic, 2007.

One of SAARC's (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) major objectives has been to promote cultural cooperation between the respective countries as culture is seen as a common factor that has the potential to form bonds between people.

'Jaisalmer Yellow' is one of such initiatives taken by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) where 25 best known artists of South Asian countries-- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka-- participated at an art camp. The artworks done at the artists' camp that continued between January 14 and 23, 2007 in Jaisalmer of Indian province Rajasthan is the evidence to the fact that creativity flourishes in an atmosphere of harmony and friendship.

A display of the 25 artworks of master artists who participated at the art camp was jointly organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Indian High Commission and ICCR at the National Art Gallery of the academy. The two week exhibition ended on April 30.

Unity, Acrylic, 2007. And Kabul War, Oil, 2007.

The exhibition offered a rare opportunity for the art lovers to have a view of the creativity of the leading artists of South Asia. The participating artists were Abdul Shakoor Khasrawe and Dr. Yousof Asefi of Afghanistan, Murtaja Baseer and Abdus Shakoor Shah of Bangladesh, Tshewang Tenzin of Bhutan, Rajini Upadhyaya of Nepal, Afzal Hassan Shaafiu of Maldives, Akhilesh, Anjana Mehra, Anupam Sud, Bandeep Singh, Gopi Gajwani, Jatin Das, Manish Pushkale Manisha Gera Baswani, Harshavardhana, Shamshad and Manish Pushkale-- of India, Ali Raza, Roohi Shafiq Ahmed, Saba Khan and Waseem Ahmed of Pakistan, and Anoma Wijewardene, Anup Vega and Jagath Raveendra of Sri Lanka. The artworks displayed at the exhibition are a result both of their individuality and the bond they have shared as a group.

Though all of the artists have their unique style, most of them have dealt with the spirtit of SAARC and the distinctive surroundings of desert town Jailamer, which is also known as "The Golden City", as the town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone.
Few Days in Jaisalmer, Acrylic, 2007.

The sprit of the art camp has been aptly presented in Murtaja Baseer's acrylic work titled 'Unity'. His painting features a beautiful woman in a golden sari. The crown of the girl embedded all the national flowers of the SAARC countries, symbolically represents the gathering of the artists from eight nations. In fact, the beauty of the desert town of Rajsthan has been portrayed in many painters' works such Manish Pushkale, Manisha Gera Baswani, Harshavardhana, Rajini Upadhyay, Saba Khan, Waseem Ahmed, Anup Vega,Jagath Ravindra, Shamshad Hussain, Anjana Mehra, Anupam Sud, Bandeep Singh and Gopi Gajwani. These artists have presented the distinctive landscape and motif of Jailamer through use of colour and compositions in various mediums such as acrylic, oil and mixed media.

But, the remaining artists have used the motifs those they frequently use, however, unity is the theme of the art works. Using the traditional folk art motif of Bangladesh Abdus Shakoor Shah in his Ballad and Faces work, has presented the spirit of unity though the marriage of the Rajasthani Couples.

Only the Afghan artists were totally different. They have not focused on the art camp, rather have presented the bitter experience that their nation is going through. Abdul Shakoor Kharawe's oil on canvas work titled Kabu War features the relics of the capital of Afghanistan at the ongoing war.


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