Painter brings art back to life in Peshawar



Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, is known as the flower city of Pakistan.

But over the years it has seen brutal terrorist attacks.

The world was shocked when terrorists attacked the Army Public School on December 16, 2014, martyring 134 students.

But that’s not the real face of this city. Before the wave of terror, it was known as a city of arts, music and culture. Many famous poets including Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Raza Hamdani were born in Peshawar.

“Our history is rich in culture. We had a tradition of sitting together in the evenings and enjoying our evening kehwa (hot drink) with our friends and rabab (a musical instrument), but when terrorism hit us all those sources of entertainment were snatched away from us,” said Ali Sajid, a Painter and visual artist based in Peshawar.

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“I wasn’t good at college but I was brilliant at art and thanks to my art teacher at school I continued my career in that direction. When I went to Singapore, I took classes with Zhu Hong. He’s a great artist. I learned the art of watercolor painting from him. I’ve also worked with a group called Urban Sketchers in Japan. From then on, I started painting buildings and nature live,” he said Agency Anadolu.

Sajid, who has traveled to almost 22 countries, left Pakistan in 2006 to learn more about the arts and returned to his hometown in 2014 to teach children.

Today he is an assistant professor in the architecture department of the City University of Science and Technology in Peshawar.

For World Painter’s Day, celebrated on February 27th, he has arranged a special course for his students to take them out into the streets and paint live to raise awareness of the arts among Peshawar residents.

“I retired when the security situation improved. Here I saw that there are no art galleries in my own city, not even at the government level, and that was a very dangerous thing for the youngsters. Then I decided to open my own studio and teach children the art of creating masterpieces on canvas. I started taking my students to the field and that’s what we’re going to do on World Painter’s Day,” Sajid said.

Understand the psychology of color

All the colors in the world have their specific psychology and effect on the human mind, and artists must learn that before creating art, Sajid said.

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“If you just paint without learning the effects of color then you are not an artist and then you should just paint for yourself and consider it a hobby,” he said. “Don’t present this to the public. It’s very important to understand the psychology of color because if you don’t, you can mentally stress your audience.”

Art as Therapy

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a type of therapy that integrates mental health and human services through the use of “active art making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience.” Even just looking at a work of art can help one deal with mental illness.

“When people with major depression or other mental illnesses come to me and show an interest in art, i.e. sketching, painting, working with clay, carving, modeling, doodling and doodling or colouring, I bring their interest closer to them step by step, while they carry out the therapy for their illness,” Kiran Sajid, a Peshawar-based psychologist, told Anadolu Agency. “And in many cases, people are better off in just a few days than they have been in months or years.”


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