By Muhammad Shahid
PESHAWAR: It was not easy to fit Henry Moore in a frame, but the British Council, the Archaeology and Fine Arts Departments and the DHL courier service did their best with “Henry Moore’s Lithographic Print Exhibition” that contained numerous framed photographs and prints by the artist.
The exhibition was inaugurated by NWFP Minister for Culture, Sports and Museums Hussain Ahmad Kanju on February 14, 2007 at the Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum (SAQ) Museum of Archaeology in the Peshawar University, and it continued till February 23, 2007 (Friday). British Council Peshawar Director Shazia Mufti, DHL courier’s Major (r) Tariq Javed Hashmi, Archaeology Department chairman Prof Farooq Swati, Fine Arts Department chairwoman Prof Tayyeba Aziz, SAQ Museum Director Prof Dr Taj Ali and numerous students attended the ceremony.
The exhibition comprised 25 framed prints and seven framed photographs. The prints had been drawn from seven district portfolios or groups of print produced between 1951 and 1984.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Hussain Ahmad Kanju said that art students expressed their emotions through photos and colours and that people rediscovered the civilisations of the past through art works.
“NWFP is a treasury of the Gandhara Art and the provincial government will soon construct seven new museums,” the minister said, adding that the relics discovered from a district would be preserved in a museum in the same place.
In her speech, Shazia Mufti said that the British Council was committed to promoting art and culture activities in Pakistan and that, “By arranging an exhibition of Henry Moore’s work, we want to introduce creative art and its appreciation in the country.”
She said such exhibitions helped boost understanding among various cultures, adding the British Council was also working with the madrassa community in another project.
Major (r) Tariq Javed Hashmi of the DHL said that his organisation was working in 20 countries including Afghanistan and Iraq. He said the DHL had played its due role in the relief and rescue efforts following the 2005 earthquake.
Prof Farooq Swati said that artists reacted to their environment in an amicable way for the betterment of the mankind. “The history of fine arts is incomplete without the works of Moore who was a talented artist,” said Prof Swati, adding that the Archaeology Department offered free entry of people who wanted to visit the exhibition till February 23.
Prof Tayyeba Aziz shed light on the life and works of Henry Moore, who she said was the son of a coalminer.
Later, Prof Tayyeb Aziz told Daily Times that NWFP lacked art galleries, adding that the NWFP government had closed down Nishter Hall, where the construction of an art gallery had been proposed. “Art exhibition should frequently be held,” the Fine Arts Department chairwoman added.
Henry Moore (1898-1986) was born in Yorkshire, 300 kilometres north of London and his early artistic development, fostered by his teacher Miss Alice, Gostick, was further nurtured by studying sculpture at the Leeds College of Art and at the Royal College of Art in London.
During the early 1920s, Moore studied the sculpture of other cultures at the British Museum: Aztec and Egyptian works had a great impact on his imagery. He also began to travel regularly to Paris, meeting artists and furthering his knowledge of European art.
In 1984, Moore presented over 200 prints to the British Council, an organisation with which he had formed a close relationship.
“The government and non-government organisations should come forward to arrange art exhibitions that provide the young artists with opportunities to develop their skills to expose their potential,” Ansar, an Archaeology Department student, told this scribe.