`We create magic’: 80-yr-old award-winning Aari staple artist sends SOS to govt to preserve art

Srinagar: An 80-year-old Aari staple master artist has sent an SOS to the government to preserve the dying art.

The elderly artist has been working hard for the past six years to preserve the art and is seeking the government’s attention to take the art to the next level.

, Mir Abdul Majeed, who won the state award in the year 2017, said that there is a need for the government must work to provide the market to the artist instead of providing loans.

Hailing from Kalai Andar area of Old City, Majeed has been associated with this art for the last six decades and has trained dozens of people, who have been earning their livelihood by taking forward this art.

Majeed said that it was around 1960 when he started learning this art at Khanyar.

 “After a few years, a Japanese lady Mis Halen, brought a staple here and we made caps, skirts, bed covers, and other items. Later, I worked at many places and a few years later I started working on my unit and reached different markets across India through this art,” he said.

He said that one of his landscape works of the Srinagar City’s Hari Parbat fort was even kept as a souvenir by former Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi.

He said that this work was in good demand, especially in foreign countries but its demand declined after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Majeed said that the artwork is being praised outside Kashmir very well and the handmade Aari staple is in demand in foreign countries, especially Europe.

“Government has been trying its best to promote handicrafts but much more needs to be done as instead of providing loans to artists, there is a need to take this art to University and Colleges to impart training to the students so that they too can earn their livelihood,” Majeed said.

“Though machines have come and most of the works are being done through machines now handmade items are still in demand,” he said, adding that he has written verses of the Holy Quran, Urdu, and Persian poetry on his art pieces.

He said that every person retires but an art-knowing person never retires and earns his livelihood even in old age.

Majeed added that he has given training to dozens of boys and girls, who too are masters in this art now. (With KNO inputs)

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