By Tahir Bhat
SRINAGAR: It was an interesting start. A civil engineer got passionate about the sketching and soon he got his first request to draw from New York.
“It was just a few film posters,” said the shy Aqeel Ahsan Wani, the 22-year-old artist. “They even paid for that, paid handsomely.” His first order came through the Facebook.
Wani is a resident of Hatmulla village in frontier Kupwara district. His father Mohammad Ahsan Wani is working in health department as a Pharmacist and his mother is a housewife. Wani is a lone son of his parents and has three sisters.
Ahsan’s schooling took place in his from his village school that government runs.
After completing his Higher secondary education from Government Higher Secondary School Kupwara, Ahsan went to SSM College in Parishpora Pattan in 2013 for Bachelors in Civil Engineering, a degree he completed.
During his college days in 2014, Ahsan started sketching. “I was inspired to see some sketches on social networking sites and decided to become an artist,” Ahsan said. “It was actually one of my relatives Wasim Mushtaq, who teaches Fine Arts in the Aligarh Muslim University who was the real change-maker in my life.”
Soon, he was the pen and the sketch. He would draw and upload the sketches on the social networking sites. This started getting him lot of attention in the digital world. He would invest in purchasing the essentials from the market and his parents would support him.
“I first draw the sketch of Bollywood star Salman Khan and when it was ready, I felt motivated,” Ahsan said. “For the first time, I thought I have the capacity to draw and it was a wonderful feeling.”
After that, he continued drawing and choose the famous. Then, Ghulam Nabi Azad was the Chief Minister and he created a sketch of him and put it on the social websites including Facebook and Twitter. It was a year after that he got an order from New York. “I got Rs 10,000 for that sketch,” Ahsan said. “It was a huge motivator.”
Later, he got a call from a TV channel and they asked him to make a sketch for a serial so that they can feature it. “I felt so proud when a TV channel approached me for the sketching,” Ahsan said
That done, some prominent stars from India like Virat Vohli, Salman Khan, and many others started seeking his service.
Just last month, Ahsan was selected for Masterpieces 2017, World’s first intercontinental Multi-Genre Festival and was the only the lone participant from Jammu & Kashmir. The festival witnessed participation of artists from Argentina, Italy, Russia, China, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan.
In this competition, Ahsan got the second position. “I met many celebrities there and it was great experience and opportunity for me.”
“I feel happy that I was selected for international art competition at Dubai to represent Kashmir,” Ahsan said.
Sketching apart, Ahsan is passionate about discovering new things. From his childhood, he has been taking part in various science competitions and had bagged 1st position for making science model in 2012 in a state level competition. “I got the first position for making a model of a “Golden Wheel Chair” for handicapped persons.”
Wani said he is working on another science project. “It is a bridge which lifts up water without any electricity or any energy,” Ahsan said, “It can be a fruitful project in Kashmir if worked upon properly.” The project, he insists, can save thousands of liters of water every day.
“Technically, I am doing nothing but actually I earn Rs 15,000 a month,” Ahsan said. “I will continue sketching and my parents help me a lot and will continue doing so.”