Srinagar, Bestowed with sharp and creative mind, Manzoor Ahmad Bhat turns colorful stones into amazing portraits and landscapes by fixing them on ply board canvas that makes him the lone such artist of India.
The 36-year-old, who had studied up to 9th standard, has been making this art of colored grinded stones for the past 22-years and has so far completed more than 40 paintings of various kinds including different landscapes and portraits of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
“The passion of art right from my childhood was so deep in me that I could not continue my studies beyond 9th class and even could not concentrate on anything else except making paintings on canvas”, Manzoor, a resident of Guzerbal in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, told UNI.
Despite being the lone artist of such a caliber in India, Manzoor is doing a salesman’s job at a shop to meet his both ends as his art has not got its due recognition as yet.
Narrating how he started this unique art, Manzoor said, “sketching and coloring on canvas was my passion right from my childhood’.
‘I usually would go fishing into the nearby Nallah Sindh river near my home or used to spend time by playing in the river for fun and during this time colored stone pebbles in the water caught my attention”, he added.
“One day I went to Nallah Sindh River where I saw different colors of stone pebbles shining in the water and that struck my mind as they were saying why not do something extraordinary with these colorful pebbles”, Manzoor said.
“Initially I couldn’t understand what will I do with these pebbles, but it was some spiritual power that triggered my brain and suddenly ideas started flooding my mind”, he said and added “I started making a ship of small pebbles by fixing them on a ply board and it took me about five months to complete”.
He said that after that ideas started pouring and I made another Yacht type ship of pebbles on a full ply board but this time the base was made of grinding colored stones and thus an entirely unique and mesmerizing art work came into existence.
“It was a call of the creator who bestowed me with this ability and put in my mind the art which I am now doing on the ply canvas boards with colored stones to lure every one”, he added.
Manzoor has made different kinds of stunning art work of stone including Ships, landscapes of different nature and portraits of different things including the one of Saudi King on ply boards by fixing the stones with adhesive.
With the passage of time, Manzoor got yet another idea to make stone paintings with the color made of different colored grinded stones which he would collect on the way from Sonamarg to Ladakh .
“Gradually I did many things on my own to make this art more viable and innovative by using colors made of different colored grinded stones, portraits of different dignitaries and landscapes ”, Manzoor said and added “but unfortunately this art could not reach the wide audience so far”.
Manzoor has exhibited his art work twice in Goa with the help of Anant Vikas Spandan Global Art, Arohan Art in Delhi and at Taj Hotel in Mumbai in collaboration with a private art lover. However, no sale was done during these exhibitions despite so many people showing their deep interest in the art work, he said.
He said that he did some sale of art but not directly, through some art agencies here in Srinagar which he later stopped as that was not fetching him fruitful purpose.
“I could not properly promote my art as I was not aware about its sale in the market”, he said and added “even my artwork was not registered under any banner with the concerned department of art in Jammu and Kashmir ‘.
He said that unfortunately when I went to register this art with the concerned authorities in Kashmir, they could not understand in which art form they could register it and it was entirely a new concept of art work never before done by anybody in the country.
However, Manzoor said “the officials of the government came to me and even I met the director of handicrafts who issued directions to the concerned officer to visit the site to register this art”.
The authorities have assured me that this kind of art is being registered in “Innovate Art” and have also assured me to promote it by doing exhibitions in Kashmir valley and other parts of the country.
“My future plans are to first register my art and then make it known to the world by taking part in exhibitions”, he said.
When he was asked about his so far favorite work, he said the hatch type Ship he made on a big ply board was his favorite so far.
He said that making the portrait of the Saudi King was an idea of a friend from Saudi Arabia so that we could present this to the king and get a handsome amount. But due to Covid-19 pandemic we could not present this portrait to him, he added.