To mine, its is “Heavenly”.
So is the case with the unique art and craft of the valley. All the beautiful aspects of the valley, be it the lush green lands, crystal snow on mountains or the humility of Kashmiris, art and craft of Jammu and Kashmir are the best form of representation.
While beauty makes Kashmir lovable, its craft makes it famous!
The art of Kashmiris and their craft can be seen in anything usual in Kashmir, e.g. embroidery on carpets and shawls, creative wood carving on doors, beds or tables, papier mache on boxes or showpieces, etc. While the craft gets most exposure in the beautiful city Srinagar, it is inhibited within people of even the remotest parts of Kashmir.
After all, it is the artisans, the craftsmen, due to whom the art and craft of Kashmir has come to be known not only to India but to the entire world.
Through this article, New Age Kashmir would like to celebrate one such talented artisan of Papier Mache, Fayaz Ahmad Jan, who has recently been honoured with the fourth highest civilian award in India, The PADMA SHRI award for his magnificent work in the handicraft of Kashmiri Papier Mache.
The Carrier of Kashmiri Papier Mache
Fayaz Ahmad Jan is one of the most credible and talented artisans of Papier Mache from Hassnabad (district Srinagar) in Kashmir. Jan has been working as a papier mache artisan since 35 years and his forefather are believed to have been attending to the art since hundreds of years. He can surely be considered the carrier of Kashmiri papier mache in Kashmir and to the world.
No doubt the quality of products produced by Jan are an outcome of his rich heritage and experienced hands.
What is Papier Mache?
Kashmir Papier Mache is an handicraft technique that was brought to Kashmir in the fourteenth century by a Sufi mystic. To make papier mache object the paper is first converted into pulp, mixed with various solutions and then moulded into designs as the creativity of the artists. Once dry, the mould is ready to be painted and given absolute life.
Fayaz Sahab and Papier Mache
Fayaz sahab has a papier mache workshop in Rainwari Srinagar. At his workshop he trains new artistes in papier mache and many other handicarfts. The workshop also serves as his office where he takes large orders and convert them into beautiful products with the help of other artisans in the valley. You can find various show pieces, bowls, jewelry boxes, paintings, vases, lamps, etc. in his workshop. Jan never cease to experiment, you might find a new unique design every time you visit the workshop.
(One can easily find the workshop by asking on the streets in Rainwari)
The designs we see today on the walls of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport are created by none other than Fayaz sahab himself. He was the main worker in the team of papier mache and wood carving designs developed over a period of an year.
Apart from that he has participated in various workshops held in the US, Brazil, France, Sweden, Italy, Singapore, Oman, Dubai, Iran and Kyrgyzstan. Hence making Kashmir and Kashmiri handcraft of Papier Mache popular around the globe.
At New Age Kashmir we celebrate and applaud all our Kashmiri artisans. Their contribution has added quality and richness to the cultural heritage of the valley. A big salute to the winner of National Award (1988) and National Merit Certificate (1985), Farah Ahmad Jan sahab, finally the winner of Padma Shri as recognised by the government of India for his uniqueness in the Papier Mache handicraft.
Fayaz sahab remains a big example for our youth in Kashmir and a continuous reminder of the importance of our Kashmiri culture and art. May the art continue to flow.