LAHORE: An exhibition of select work submitted in connection with the 2016 ArtBeat—a nationwide children’s art competition—commenced on Thursday at Alhamra on The Mall.

The competition, premised on the theme my teacher my hero, invited children to showcase their artistic abilities by sketching portraits of teachers they had been most inspired by. The jury consisted of visual artist RM Naeem, the BNU’s Rabeya Jalil, the NCA’s Qudsia Rahim, academic Sadaf Naeem and painter Abdullah Qureshi. Those selected to showcase their work at exhibitions in the city this year were presented certificates and cash prizes by guests on the occasion. Highlights from the preceding season were also showcased at the ceremony.

Some of the winning students came from Army Public School Azam Garrison, Rising Stars Elementary School, Ghani Grammar School, Gujrat’s Bloomfield Hall School, Sadiqabad’s Fatima Fertiliser School, Sadiqabad’s FFC Grammar High School, Lahore’s Garrison Academy for Girls, Shahdara’s Ghani Grammar School, Lahore’s International School Of Choueifat, Johar Town’s KIPS Girls Campus, Johar Town’s LACAS Girls Branch among scores of others.

The NCA’s Quddus Mirza, the chief guest on the occasion, said he had been observing the general decline of Lahore’s art scene. “But seeing raw art work depicting how children perceive the world and see their teachers as heroes has proven to be a refreshing experience,” he said. Mirza said he felt reassured about the prospects of art in the nation. The academic said he had been left overwhelmed by the kind of work children had put together in connection with the competition.

Rohtas Gallery curator Asad Hayee said such competitions should be organised more regularly. He said more children should be encouraged to participate in such events.

Academic RM Naeem, a special invitee, said the future of art in the nation looked extremely promising. He said this was due to young artists and their teachers who put in remarkable effort annually to help their students adequately express themselves and enable them to present their views before the world. Over 190 schools, 25 NGOs and 4,000 students competed in 2016 ArtBeat. Of those submitted, 376 works were chosen for display by the jury.

ArtBeat, a project of The Little Art, was initiated in 2012 to promote visual culture, develop understanding of issues among the young, celebrate child artists and present their views to the society.  The Little Art is an NGO engaged in promoting art and providing the young with creative learning opportunities.

Published in The Express Tribune

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