Pacific Art Museum Spotlights Genius of Pakistani Artist
By Anwar Khawaja

It was a rare and unique show of the genius of an artist from a remote part of Pakistan. Naina displayed her inborn talent at the Pacific Art Museum in Pasadena by stitching a blazing block of red and blue with thread and needle for an hour, non-stop. The audience was fascinated to see such an exquisite work of art produced without a pre- pattern or design.

Niana comes from Thar Parker, a remote desert area of Pakistan where poverty and lack of resources are the lot of the residents. Her husband, Surrender Valasai, who serves as interpreter, is also the chief executive of Lila Handicrafts, and explains the work of the artists and his wife Niana. When Naina  creates a new patchwork block, she simply cuts strips of cotton and starts stitching a pattern without any design, photo, drawing or sketch at her disposal or reference. Her husband says that all the intricate designs are in her mind and, when she finishes a quilt, it conforms to an appealing, standard design.

Mrs Hina Abidi, president of Pakistan Art Council, informed the audience that the objective of the Council is to introduce and promote the unique cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Pakistan. “It took me two years to bring Naina and her husband to America after seeing their art pieces on the facebook,” she remarked.

Patricia Stoddard, author of "Ralli Quilts, Traditional Textile of India and Pakistan,” speaking on the occasion described how she came to know the art of quilt stitching by hand. At the end Mrs Hina Abidi interviewed the couple.

The audience bought many pieces of handicraft on display. All proceeds will go to the women of Lila Handicrafts.

Pakistan Consul General,  Mr Tasawar Khan, and Mrs Tasawar Khan were  also present.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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