The colours of Wasaib: Artwork of Ajab Khan, a unique Pakistani artist of Dera Ismail Khan


Ajab Khan is a self-taught artist based in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. The artist, who did his Masters in Urdu literature, is in the field of art for the past 30 years, in the region of Seraiki Wasaib. Khan has won a number of national and international accolades, including the first prize in the Makkah Calligraphy competition, Saudi Arabia.

His paintings reflect local Saraiki culture of Dera Ismail Khan and describe everyday life and tge village environment of Sunni, Shia, Saraiki and Pashtun residents of the area.

One of his paintings is about a village woman. Using his artistic skills, the artist has captured a moment of her routine life, when she is moving towards her mud-made home from a verdant way while holding some stuff on her head. Khan has given bright colours to the painting and created greenery in the surrounding of the house as well.

One paining is about Saraiki Shia women participating in Ashura of Muharram rituals in black mourning dress.

Another piece is about a bricks kiln, commonly seen while visiting villages or during journeys through trains. In the painting, the smoke billowing from a chimney is also visible, while bricks are placed in an open area for sunlight.

Similarly, another art piece depicts engagement of youth. In this painting, the artist has showed two girls having stuff on their heads moving on the verdant way. The artist also made a small canal in his painting adjacent to some houses in the village. He used bright and light colours in the art piece to enhance its beauty.

Khan’s paintings depict the verdant ways which could be seen particularly in villages and his work revolves around it.

His work brings us closer to the natural beauty that has been away from “all of us”. In his words: “We have forgotten the natural beauty. My work is to connect urban people to the beautiful life in rural areas.”

All of his paintings of villages are the real portray of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa villages, from D.I.Khan to Bhakkar and other areas.

In reply to a query, he said, “Yes, this is true that there are no facilities in rural areas for people who want to become an artist.” There was only one public university in DI Khan and it did not offer any fine arts programme, he said, adding that public universities across Pakistan offered such courses however.

The majority of renowned artists of current times and past belonged to rural areas of the country, but the lack of facilities there dragged them to cities, asserted Ajab Khan.

“Artists of rural areas are more talented because they live near to natural beauty,” he said, adding students of DI Khan and its surrounding areas were studding at NCA, Lahore. “If the government could provide them with learning opportunities close to their hometowns, they would compete with artists of urban areas in a much better manner,” he concluded. (Source: Adapted from Daily Times)




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