By Arif Noor
“One of the challenges and problems that we face in Gwadar is that the art material and accessories are not available here. We have to purchase them from Karachi” says Hashim Usman, an emerging artist who is trying to promote paint art in Gwadar.
He has joined the Hashimi Academy, a platform to educate the young artists, with the aim to groom young artists. He is working on a voluntary basis to equip them with the ability to display their talent on the canvas.
When Hashim started spreading colors on the canvas, there was no such academy for art in Gwadar and its surroundings. Yet he participated in painting contests at the school level and won many awards as well.
“My childhood love for paints and colors has nurtured me into a painter. At that time, I had never thought that I would become a professional painter. But with the passage of time, I realised that there is an artist within me who is eager to express the feelings in the form of paint art,” Hashim explained.
He had to travel to Quetta to learn professional painting and drawing, where he polished his skills at the Cultural Institute. Most of his work comprises of oil paints, water colors, and pencil sketches.
Hashim has tried to draw the attention towards social problems using his art of painting. When his pieces of art were displayed for the first time in 2009, his topic was the sea and the fishermen.
In 2011 his paintings created in the context of ‘Baluchistan’s political, economic and social background’ were recognized by the University of Texas at Austin in America, which published his work in annual journal ‘South Asia magazine’.
In 2013, Hashim was awarded the prestigious Imam Daad Award for excellent performance in Arts. Rural Development Community, a local social organisation in Gwadar, awarded him the Imam Daad Award for achieving excellence in various types of fine arts.
He has also received a Special Award by Youth Affairs Department of Baluchistan for showing excellence in arts.
In spite of this, there is little recognition for arts and artists in Gwadar, Hashim complained. “We do it for fun and joy as there is no tangible support from the Government,” he adds.
Due to lack of resources, his paintings have not made it to the big cities. “The artists are a poor community and do not have resources enough to showcase their work in exhibitions in Quetta, Lahore or Karachi,” he told us.
Arif Noor is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Gwadar.
Translated by Tariq Mahmood
Edited by Hasan Khan