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Receding artwork, lack of interest: KU’s famous dead Chinar is finally dying

January 14, 2016


Srinagar, Jan 14: The fallen Chinar in Kashmir University’s Naseem Bagh campus which had been turned into an art spectacle by the fine arts students and had received a lot of national and international media attention is now left to rot with the work done on it is slowly withering away.

Wrapped in a polythene paper as some part of the artwork is torn off, the tree is struggling to remain buzzing. In an attempt to give a “new life” with an “identity” to this six year fallen tree, the students of Music and Fine Art of the varsity had solicited many eyeballs for “near-terrifying” display of their artistic talent, perceived as “radical” by many.

While showing a desire that the artwork should be preserved, the students behind the work reveal their handicap. It took them about 15 days of rigorous work. “We can churn out art but it is not possible for us to be here round the clock to preserve it,” says Saqib a final year student of the department, who was one of the brains behind the work.

Drawing sketches on the 50 feet long tree, around 10 students had tried to narrate tales of the troubled region of Kashmir.

Juxtaposing with the varsity’s soothing picturesque Naseem Bagh, which is dotted with 600-odd Chinars, a “real image” had been illustrated on it, about the “harbouring sores” of the place (Kashmir) to which the tree belongs. Sketches that had been drawn on the tree of Kalashnikovs and barbed wire show how a land of beauty and peace was ravaged by hatred and conflict over the years.

“We are sure that the artwork won’t survive for long because nobody cares; so we are brooding to work on it again; may be in the autumn season,” Saqib said, while referring to a “big project” on the burnt staff quarters in Naseem bagh, they are working on right now, which may take them more than a month.

“We are mulling over a new project of camouflaging the tree with red surroundings in autumn. We would draw the same red leaves of the Chinar on the fallen tree as would be scattered in the surroundings,” he said.

When asked why they choose only this Chinar Saqib said, “First it is our state tree and is being widely ignored; and second the unavailability of the avenues forced us to work on it,”
“When you don’t have blackboard, you scribble on walls,” he said sarcastically.

Saqib added that the fallen Chinar was going unnoticed among hundreds of Chinars in Naseem Bagh but after they worked on it, it became the point of attraction. He confidently says that simple artwork could ferry their message across borders and depict the perception of a common conflict-ridden Kashmiri.

Another student said that work is for the general people. “This work is not self-centred. We don’t want to tell personal tales. We want to share experiences which people can relate to.” He added that they are not doing the artwork for commercial reasons as they have been spending their own money and have not received any outside help.

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