Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Art Shops Lane, Paintings Galore....Karachi.

Dream Art Gallery.
When I was a child I had a fascination and a dream to visit Paris, stay there alone ,on my own and study painting. That beautiful dream never came true in the sense of staying in Paris, but I always found Karachi to be a city friendly to the arts , be it drama, film making, literary arts, fine arts like painting and sculpture. The Pakistan American Cultural Center, the Goethe Institute, the Alliance Francais, The Arts Council are some of the places that I have quenched my thirst at, for the last 52 years of my life. Paintings galleries such as the Ali Imam Gallery (previously in PECHS Society) now in Bath Island, Clifton , Arts Council of Pakistan are some of the earliest places for the painters of Pakistan. Later private galleries like Mrs. Hussain's Chowkandi, Sameera Raja's Canvas were pioneers in providing art lovers a place to feast their senses in. Many private art galleries have mushroomed now. Most of them situated in Defence and Clifton areas, where somehow , it appears art is more fashionable. Although art is nobody's private domain , jaagir, but it seems that the commerce and saleability of art is an important factor in the location of these galleries. Not that I am complaining. My journey to these places from my abode by the sea is so convenient that I can visit one place everyday and then will always have a place to go.
The surprise I felt and pleasant too was when on a visit to a paintings exhibition , I saw that a dinghy, indiscripit lane in a "Dalton Market" or 'Khadda Market'  area in Defence has changed it's profile to an interesting street full of art shops. This happened because many people who did framing for painters realized the potential of these goods as a marketable commodity, fetching thousands for one painting alone. Somehow they joined young enterpreuners and viola, the dinghy little shop or a larger expensive premesis, becomes an art gallery. The best part is one can get genuine masters like Mashkoor Raza, Mansur Aye, Changez Sultan along with newer yet very fine artists like Ashkal, Zara.As these galleries or art shops are commercial enterprises, their character remains retail only. No Paris street full of art for me here. but then, I will never complain if I see and enjoy a good painting and not a sermonising suffocating, madressah like book store or a tyre shop, or a blaring music and cd shop.
So for Karachiites and for visitors to Karachi , a must journey to this street, near Jimmy's Studio in Khadda Market.

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