LAHORE - The Artists Association of Punjab organised a seminar titled ‘In search of history’ that highlighted the difficulties of arts in Pakistan at Alhamra Arts Council on Friday.

The session was moderated by AAP General Secretary Ghulam Mustafa and panelists were Dr Rahat Navid Masud, Dr Riffat Saif Dar, Dr Shazia Mukhtar, Mian Ijazul Hassan and Dr Sarah Umer.

The chief guest of seminar was PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan. He shared his life experiences, saying: “As a nation we are still unaware about our history. We must teach our youngsters about the history of our country.”

Dr Kanwal Khalid threw light on the history of art in Pakistan and highlighted negatives and positives one finds in it. She said that artist is a product of our society we should utilize her skills in the right direction. “People rely more on social media platforms they don’t even bother to make research on history due to which they are unaware of the real difficulties,” she said. Chairperson Artist Association of Punjab Mian Ijazul Hassan said: “The art produced under the military regime of Gen Zia documents a powerful use of political themes and symbolism. The artist community particularly, the female artist proclaimed their identity through their work and highlighted the scope of injustice that the military regime inflicted. Calligraphy has played a major role for the revival of Muslim art in the history. The artistic influences found in major Pakistani culture are that of Islamic ideology, and also borrows heavily from the Indian subcontinent.”

“The ancient artifacts found in the city of Mohenjo-Daro and similar excavations all over the country have yielded that this region was very advanced and had rich culture. In our region, more recent cultural influences are those of Mughal era, which has left its mark  on much of our literature, painting, architecture, as well as societal norms as we practice today.

“The current array of arts in Pakistan is hugely divergent and spans a broad range of trends that are different in individual provinces, cultures and regions of the country,” he added.

Lecturer, Kinnaird College for women and Institute for Art & Culture Sadia Pasha Kamran said, “Art education in Pakistan signifies popular socio-political, cultural and religious dogmas as the perilous issues related to art history teaching. While re-thinking and retelling history, we must avoid falling into the trap of creating another master narrative. This can be achieved by unveiling the power inequalities and through an approach based on materiality, cultural exchange, and varied definitions of temporalities as an alternative to the available political versions of history. We can sensitise our people with their surroundings so that they themselves witness the history. We can focus on producing open-minded, well-aware, tolerant and powerful beings so that they analyse their present and understand history,” She said.

Pir Sialvi movement enjoys support of Sunni Ittehad Council, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Noorani and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek besides custodians of different shrines and some PML-N lawmakers are also backing the movement.