LAHORE - An exhibition of Iranian handicraft and miniature painting was held on Monday at Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery in the National College of Arts.

Principal NCA Dr Murtaza Jafri and Director Khana-e-Farhang Akbar Barkhurdari inaugurated the exhibition.

Students and visitors thronged the exhibition and showed interest in the meticulously executed and detailed paintings.

The Persian Empire was one of the oldest civilizations in the world and it has left an indelible mark on the world in the realm of art, architecture, literature, food and culture. The history of the world is incomplete without mention of Persia and neither Europe nor Asia can deny the fact that it was one of the oldest empires of the world.

Principal NCA Dr Murtaza Jafri spoke on the occasion saying the arts of Iran has its roots in the culture and customs of its people and their instinctive feelings. “The taste and talent of these people can be seen through the designs of their painting which is displayed today. Many works at the exhibition had been sold out.

“Elaborating on the history of friendship between Iran and Pakistan he said that the historical and cultural ties of both countries go back in time and have always been very strong. Such events are necessary for they play a positive role in strengthening of this bond between the two nations. It was worth mentioning and a matter of pride for NCA that at the moment four students from Iran are currently studying in NCA,” Dr Murtaza said

Nusrat Arab, Iranian teacher, said that Iranian art has one of the richest art heritages in world history and has been strong in many media including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and sculpture this all effort is because of the students and their hard work. “The purpose of this exhibition is to promote Persian art because people are unaware of it and it is a step forward to cementing Pak Iran friendship,” she said.

Shazia Gil, whose work was showcased at the exhibition said that her art was deeply inspired by Sufism and the whirling dervishes at (Jalaluddin) Rumi’s mausoleum.

“This work depicts a Whirling Dervish performing the Sema, a Sufi ritual where one revolves meditatively while worshiping the existence and majesty of the Creator. I’ve tried to discover the thought of infinity. Most dervishes in my paintings are seen flying around.”

Art critic Quddus Mirza said that Iran has offered a particularly unique art to the world and this exhibition is organized to showcase how traditional art is kept there.

“Although there is an older Persian tradition of wall-painting, the survival rate and state of preservation of miniatures is better, and miniatures are much the best-known form of Persian painting in the West and Turkish museums.

“It always feels great to see art from a different country and get to know about their rich culture and heritage. Such event should be more often so that people in Pakistan should get acquainted with Persian paintings,” Quddus said.