Art-felt gesture to help flood victims
THE Pakistani ambassador has put her private collection of paintings on display to help raise money for aid to her flood-ravage homeland.
The intriguing views include striking images of the Kalash people -- said to be the forgotten descendants of Alexander the Great, vibrant landscapes, dancers and haunting portraits.
Now the collection -- built up over many years by Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi and her husband -- is open to the public in a special exhibition entitled 'Beyond the Visible', on view this week at the Minerva Suite of the RDS in Dublin. Admission is free but all donations will go towards the devastating floods in Pakistan.
The collection also includes a shy portrait of the ambassador herself, painted from a photograph taken on her wedding day by artist Zehra Hussain, a friend.
"I didn't want people to know it was me, but then my daughter told everyone," the ambassador said yesterday.
The collection features copies of oil paintings from master painters such as AR Chughtai, as well as upcoming artists, reflecting the many different faces of her country, the ambassador explained.
The collection was begun by her mother, but most of the works were collected by the ambassador and her husband over the years.
"We buy what we love but we also wanted the collection to show the different parts of Pakistan and the variety of artistic styles," she said.
"This is the real Pakistan," she added.
She said it was very important for her to showcase the cultural side of her ravaged country.
"It is very unfortunate, but sometimes people talk as if Pakistan was born on 9/11 but that is not true -- it is a very moderate country and we are not fundamentalists," she insisted.
The recent floods have left an area four times the size of Ireland under water, the ambassador said, affecting 21 million people, including six million children.
The exhibition runs at the RDS from 9am to 5pm until next Friday, September 17.