Friday, August 13, 2010

Strangled in the Web of Life

Lahore Grammar School, Junior Branch, Ghalib Market, provided an opportunity to its young artists to display their creative skills in school on 27th May 2005. A feast it was for the eyes of the spectators and a mote for the modern Hamlet to shake his very being.
The whole school building whirled around our eyes showering creative colours. There were paintings, engravings, models, statues and cards displayed all around in the most becoming manner. Undoubtedly, the school administration, teachers and even custodians had outdone themselves in exhibiting to perfection the work of our young Picassos and Van Goghs.
Chattering, chatting, ogling, and commenting the parents were roaming around with their little ones. They were wonder struck as each and every work of art spoke of the tremendous effort of the art teachers and there disciples, the importance  Grammar School attaches to Fine Arts.
Being the father of a young artist, I was also trying to comprehend the language of colour, curve and canvas. I was struck by the painting of a class five artist. My mind was perturbed by the title of the painting which read “modern man strangled in the web of life”. The painting below was steeped in modernity. A black human figure struggling but strangled in the bright red, yellow, green and purple webs reminded me of the great novelist, Albert Camus. In the Myth of Sisyphus, Camus depicts a human character that is doomed to carry a huge boulder to the top of a mountain. From morn till night Sisyphus toils to push the stone to the top of the mountain but the moment he reaches the top the stone hurls itself back to the ground. How true but how sad is the plight of the modern man. Our young artists are quite aware of the hard realities of life. The depiction of modern man strangled in the web of life by a fifth grade student had almost the same effect on my mind which Wordsworth had experienced when he had a glimpse of the daffodils. But the after affect was entirely different. The great poet’s heart was filled with joy whereas my heart overflowed with melancholy as the locale was not Lake District but the city of Lahore which is quickly turning into an immeasurable pot where intellect is receding with awful haste. The tradition of learning is being replaced with the rituals of eating. Thanks to Lahore Grammar School which is upholding the banner of learning. Bravo! young artists, you are “putting” a mirror to those aspects of life which can never be realized by those who stand in queue outside a hotel and wait to be served.  
(Published in the School Times, the school magazine of Lahore Grammar School, Ghalib Market, Lahore.)                 

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