Painting Pain

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Forced by the situation to drop out of the school to support his labourer father, a young man has kept drawing despite adverse situations, reports Umar Mukhtar

Mudasir Rehman Dar

Mudasir Rehman Dar, 26, has given his Kulpora village in Kulgam a new identity. Quite famous in his peers, people in the area remember Kulpora as Mudasir’s village. Mudasir is an artist – he draws and paints.

Most of the paintings hanging on the walls of Mudasir’s modest room take people into the pain and sufferings that Kashmir witnessed in last three decades of conflict. “I try to depict the pain and suffering of people through my artwork,” Dar said.

Mudasir had not been to any fine arts academy to learn the art. It actually comes to him naturally. “Since my old school days, I used to draw different pictures of animals and landscape,” Mudasir said. “I remember that when I was in class fourth, my teachers saw me first time drawing some lines on my notebook instead of the routine class work.” Instead of appreciating him for these artistic lines, the teacher summoned his father and complained about his negligence in studies.

“I developed an interest in painting at an early age. I liked to play with colours during my school days,” said Mudasir.

Mudasir left his school at the senior secondary level. In 2007, he felt devastated when one of his close friends died at a very young age. Besides, Mudasir was surrounded with other personal issues, which impacted his educational career. Soon dropping out of school, Mudasir joined his father, a daily wage labourer, to improve the family’s modest income. It was at that time he got into painting work.

Despite putting in hard labour – Mudasir works as a Rangsaaz and even goes for manual labour – his love for art never faded. He continues to draw.

Since 2008, he has been drawing the situation on ground. “So most of these drawings and paintings exhibit conflict,” Mudasir said.

Normally, his creations are signed with Shahid Mudasir, his pen name. Now he is more often known with this name than his actual one. On one side struggling with the menial jobs to support his family, Mudasir never let himself down instead followed his passion.

In 2016, when Kashmir witnessed unrest for six months during summer, Mudasir remained indoors. During those days he drew what his neighbourhood was going through. His paintings were viral on social media and were hugely shared.

However, Mudasir’s ‘virtual’ fame was very short lived as he got a call from the security agencies. He was time and again questioned for his artwork. It had an impact on him.

But he could not stop drawing, even though he wanted to. Mudasir continues drawing what naturally comes to him. “Drawing the sufferings and pain onto a canvas or a piece of paper is cathartic,” he admits.

In fact, questioning his art and trying to stop him from drawing, took his creativity to the next level. He started drawing abstract art. Very few artists are skilled in this form of art. It is very difficult for the common people to understand this art; only artists, expert critics and lovers of art can decode and understand the abstract art. “You can draw very powerful paintings and drawings in the abstract form without getting into the trouble,” Mudasir told in a satirical tone.

Not long time ago, when a photograph of a child mourning at a funeral took the media by storm, Mudasir drew his sketch and it was widely shared, commented and appreciated.

In the last few years, Mudasir participated in different painting contests locally and a few bigger platforms. He also got many awards and certificates. His paintings were displayed in many states and even on the international level. Recently some of his paintings were showcased at World Virtual Museum, a virtual museum on the web.

Other than painting the conflict, Mudasir draws portraits, sketching and depicts nature and culture through his art. “I had many nature-related drawings that were liked,” Mudasir said.

But being so passionate and enthusiast artist, Mudasir is yet to find a proper platform where he could be showcased properly. So far, he has not got any support from anywhere. But he is hopeful that someday he will find a place he deserves.

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