Balkh painters, calligraphers complain of dwindling arts

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Some painters and calligraphers in northern Balkh province complain the arts have been nose-diving. They cited a variety of reasons, including the shrinking purchasing power of the masses, lack of exhibitions and a growing public interest in digital calligraphy as the main reasons for falling demand for calligraphic masterpieces.
Painter Mohammad Saber Rezaee told Pajhwok Afghan News they had lately been grappling with challenges. He identified the bad economic situation of the people, lack of exhibitions and the advent of digital technology as factors impinging on their work.
“There are no exhibitions, and we cannot easily sell our paintings. People are increasingly using digital technology instead, because it does not consume much time and is cheap.” Mohammad Rahim, another painter, said although his profession was not lucrative, the value of paintings had decreased due to the current economic crisis in the country.
He urged the government to conduct exhibitions to draw people’s attention to this art. Roohullah Rahimi, a calligrapher and painter, told Pajhwok Afghan News their work was in decline and many artists had switched to other jobs. The artisans want the government’s hand to keep this art alive.
The provincial government acknowledged the problems being faced by artists and artisans. However, it vowed to find solution to such problems. Mohammad Sadiq Sarmastzada, head of the arts section at the Information and Culture Department, promised the government would arrange exhibitions in the near future. No exhibition of paintings or calligraphy has been held in the past year when the incumbent administration came to power.