Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is known as the flower city of Pakistan.
But over the years, he has witnessed brutal terrorist attacks.
The world was shocked when terrorists attacked the Army Public School on December 16, 2014 and killed 134 students.
But this is not the true face of this city. Before the wave of terror, it was known as the 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 used to have a tradition of sitting together in the evening and enjoying our evening kehwa (hot drink) with our friends and our rabab (a musical instrument), but when terrorism hit us, all these sources of entertainment left us uprooted,” said Ali Sajid, a painter and visual artist based in Peshawar.
“I was not good at studies but I was brilliant in arts and thanks to my fine arts teacher at school, I continued my career in this field. When I went to Singapore, I took lessons from Zhu Hong. He’s a great artist. I learned the art of watercolor with him. I also worked with a group called Urban Sketchers in Japan. From there, I started doing live paintings of buildings and nature,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Sajid, who has traveled to nearly 22 countries, left Pakistan in 2006 to learn more about the arts and returned to his hometown to teach children in 2014.
He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at the City University of Science and Technology in Peshawar.
He has organized a special class for his students as part of the World Painters Day celebrated on February 27, where he will take them to the streets and do a live painting to raise awareness of the arts in Peshawar.
“I came back when the security situation improved. Here I saw that there were no art galleries in my own town, not even at the government level and that was a very dangerous thing for young people. Then I decided to start my own studio and teach children the art of creating masterpieces on canvas. I have started taking my students into the field and we will also do this on World Painters Day,” Sajid said.
Understanding Color Psychology
All the colors in the world have their specific psychology and effects on the human mind and artists need to learn this before creating art, Sajid said.
“If you just paint without learning the impact of colors, you’re not an artist and you should just paint for yourself and make it a hobby,” he said.
“Don’t put this out to the public. It is very important to understand the psychology of colors because if you don’t, you can put your audience in a state of mental stress.
Art as therapy
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a kind of therapy that integrates mental health and human services using “active art making, the creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience.” Just looking at a work of art can also help in coping with mental illness.
“When people with severe depression or any other mental illness come to me and show their interest in art, i.e. drawing, painting, working with clay, sculpting, sculpting, doodling and doodling or coloring, I bring them closer to their interest step by step while doing the therapy for their illness,” Kiran Sajid, a Peshawar-based psychologist, told Anadolu Agency.
“And in many cases, people get better in days rather than months or years,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27and2022.