Srinagar– Looking at Aziz-ur Rehman’s tools, one can be forgiven for mistaking him for an exorcist. Rehman, however, does not deal with the occult. He is an artist who makes art from waste material, including animal bones.
The Jammu and Kashmir Handicrafts Department discovered Rehman — the only bone artist of the Union Territory — during a kisan mela.
“We met him at a kisan mela. He approached the department and wanted to exhibit his art work … we gladly accepted his offer and provided him the space,” Handicrafts Director Mahmood Shah told PTI at the exhibition organised for Rehman’s art under the ‘Know Your Artist’ programme.
Siven the encouragement Rehman has received from people, he will put in more effort into his art, Shah said.
“He will come up with more art forms. Right now, he has very small art specimens and his exhibit will grow both in form and diversity in the coming days,” Shah added.
Rehman said his art is based on turning waste into wealth.
“I am a bone carving artist from Kashmir. My work is based on waste wealth, what I do is I collect different waste materials such as animal bones and wood and make art using those I have these skulls, bull horn, flower vases, bone brush holders and bone ornaments,” he said.
Rehman said there is vast scope in Kashmir for bone art.
“We should explore more and more of this … I collect these bones from homes and butchers as Kashmir. People eat a lot of meat in Kashmir, so we don’t have a shortage here,” he said.
Rehman said he is self taught and used social media to hone his skills.
“I learned this art by myself with the help of social media. People like this art because its is unique and out of the box,” he said.
He started dabbling in the art form during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“As a child, I saw bones in my home during the Bakrid (Bakra Eid). I took one bone and started carving, shaping it into a small object,” he added.
It was not all smooth sailing for Rehman as he was criticised for the choice of his work.
“When I started doing this, everyone criticised me for wasting time. But when they realised that I am on the right track, I got support. I continue my studies while doing this,” he added.
Faizan Zahoor, a visitor, said he was left speechless by Rehman’s art.
“I can’t say in words what I feel right now because it’s absolutely mindblowing, creative and innovative. I liked this and art is something that purifies your soul and keeps (you) away from depression…,” Zahoor said.
Talking about the programme, Shah said this space is being promoted as a craft space so that talented youth can showcase their talent.
“Today is the eighth exhibition and every time we try to give a platform to a new artist … we want people from different art forms, experimenting with their crafts, to come here and showcase their art through this platform. Srinagar is ranked among UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Through that also, we showcase different crafts and craftsmen,” Shah added.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.