Ground Report | New Delhi: Meet Maqbool Jan; Award-winning “Paper Mache” artist in Srinagar, Maqbool Jan creates a masterpiece. He draws a map of Srinagar city on a cloth using the “Paper Mache” technique. He wants to see this work displayed in the Indian Parliament.
Meet Maqbool Jan
Born on 15 January 1965 in Srinagar, Maqbool learned paper Mache art from his father. He has trained around 50 students. Maqbool said that he has participated in various exhibitions and has consistently received excellent responses for his craft.
Maqbool said that his innovative and creative skills were rapidly recognized and he won several state awards. He was awarded the prestigious UNESCO Seal of Excellence for handicrafts in 2007-2008. Maqbool continues to innovate and introduce the art of pottery machi (papier-mâché technique on pottery). His designs and work in pottery have won two state awards.
He continues to pioneer, experiment, and innovate in clothing designing paper mache art in the Valley. His passion to preserve this art has trained twenty youth in this craft so that they can earn their livelihood. His aspiration is to see this art form develop and flourish and the artisans working in this field establish identity and respect in the society.
His passion to preserve this art has trained twenty youth in this craft so that they can earn their livelihood. His aspiration is to see this art form develop and flourish and the artisans working in this field establish identity and respect in the society.
My work should be introduced in Parliament
He said, ‘My real wish is that it should be introduced in Parliament. Or they can keep it in the Kashmiri Vidhan Sabha or in a big art gallery. The new generation should see our culture through their art. I would be very happy to see it being introduced in Parliament. This will give a lot of impetus to the artisans of the Kashmir Valley. They will do better in the future,” said Maqbool Jan, the ‘Paper Mache’ artist, Wion reported.
Maqbool has been working on this card for over a year and says it will take a few more months to complete. The inspiration for this card came from a shawl displayed at the Srinagar Museum. The card on this shawl is designed by Sozni Work. He wants to recreate it with paper-mâché.
“I had the idea of a shawl in the museum and wanted to bring this art to life again. I wanted to show how Dal Lake was, how old Srinagar looked and that’s why I made it. The new generation should join this art. It took me a year to do it and another month to complete it. I first thought about the color palette and what watercolors were. Our dargah looked like mosques and gardens. Maqbool Jan said. (Meet Maqbool Jan)
No school for youth
There is no such school where the youth of Kashmir Valley are taught the art of Machi Machi. The artist demanded that a curriculum be prepared by institutions in the Kashmir Valley to promote this art form.
“Our kids are very talented but we don’t have any local designers. We have to bring designers from outside, so we want the government to introduce courses so that students can learn here. Our kids want to get a degree before starting work, they don’t want to drop out and then pick it up. We want the government to bring a degree to this. They say that artists are not respected here,” Maqbool Jan said.
Awarded by President of India
Secular art is revived by artists like Maqbool Jaan. He makes sure that this art form survives the tough times and reappears in the Kashmir Valley. Maqbool has won 4 national awards and one international award for his contribution to this art.
In 2015, Maqbool won the National Award for Paper Mache and was presented with the award by the President of India at a grand ceremony in New Delhi in honour of artisans from across the country. With over 40 years of experience, Maqbool is a prolific painter and papier-mâché artist from Kashmir, having already won a state award in 2013.