A Series of Paintings
2010 – 2013
In 2006, I became acquainted with M.K. Raina, an eminent theatre director who was visiting his native Kashmir to present a series of plays inspired by Kashmir’s centuries-old folk theatre, commonly known as Band Pather. As a child of the 80s, I had attended several performances by the Bands (Kashmiri folk theatre performers) in my rural village in Anantnag in South Kashmir. Back then, as an art student, I was still at an early stage within my art practice and Mr. Raina happened to see some of my sketches of the Bands as they were performing. He then invited me to participate in his plays by displaying my early works at the venue (Tagore Hall) of his shows. Since then, my fascination with the world of Band Pather only increased beyond what I had seen in my early childhood and a few years later I developed a series of eight works depicting the Band Pather performances. The first of such paintings won the 2011 M.N. Kaul Memorial Award, as part of an Annual All India Art Exhibition held in New Delhi. The award further prompted me to keep on producing more such works, albeit with rare and limited resources in my student years, comprising of a total of eight works. Thus began my journey into the world of the Band as I connected with their community from my village in rural Kashmir for over a decade. This early Band Pather series marks a point in time when it was still possible to see their performances. Now, such performances and the folk artists who produce them have become nearly extinct while the more than 10 century-old Band Pather indigenous folk artform still serves as a medium of poetic reflection on loss of culture, tradition, and power.