An award-winning 'paper mache' artist in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar district has been making a masterpiece. Maqbool Jan, a resident of Srinagar's Lal Bazar is creating a map of the capital city on a cloth by using paper mache techniques. Maqbool said he wants to see the masterpiece displayed on the walls of the new Parliament building in New Delhi which is under construction.
''My actual wish is that this should be put up in Parliament. Or if they can put it in the Kashmir assembly or a big art gallery. The new generation should see our culture through our art. I would be extremely happy if it was put up in Parliament. It would give a boost to artisans of Kashmir Valley. They would make better things in the future,'' he said.
Maqbool has been working on the map for over a year and says it will take a few more months to complete. The inspiration for the map has come from a shawl that is displayed at the Srinagar Museum. The map on the shawl is drawn by Sozni work. He wants to recreate the same with 'paper mache'.
'I got the idea from a shawl in the museum and wanted to bring that art alive again. I wanted to show how Dal Lake used to be, how old Srinagar looked like and that's the reason I created this. The new generation should take up this art. It took me a year to make this and it will take me a month more to complete this. I thought about the color scheme first and how watercolors used to be. How our shrines and mosques and gardens used to look," he said.
The centuries-old art is being revived by artists like Maqbool Jan. He is making sure that this art form survives in tough times and emerges again in the Kashmir Valley. Maqbool has won four national and one international award for his contributions to this art.