Win for the arts: Croweaters to remain open
LAHORE: The family of Bapsi Sidhwa and the late MP Bhandara has renounced its decision to shut down the Croweaters Art Gallery after a large segment of society protested the move, Daily Times learnt on Tuesday.
“The administration has now decided to shift the gallery to another location, most likely in the Defence Housing Authority or Gulberg. They have already started their search for an adequate place to run an art gallery,” Gallery Curator and General Manager Nayab Shami told Daily Times on Tuesday. She said that a large number of people had visited the gallery after learning of its impending closure and several had requested the family to keep the historic location open for business. She said that the family had been overwhelmed by the public outcry and had decided to shift the gallery instead of shutting it down to entertain the public’s request and keep the family tradition alive.
Nayab said that the decision has also energised the people working at the gallery, as they were very pleased to learn that the masses did not want the country to lose even a single art gallery and had rallied to save it. She said that while it was certain that the gallery would be shifted, it was not yet decided whether the new location would have only an art gallery or a café and crafts shop as well. Beaconhouse National University (BNU) Visual Department chief Saleema Hashmi welcomed the move, saying the late MP Bhandara’s family had done a great service for the world of fine art. She said that the Bhandaras were a family of traditionalists; art lovers; and philanthropists. They had taken many steps in the past to contribute to the preservation of culture in Lahore and the Parsi people who lived here, she added.
Don’t move: Hashmi said the gallery, café and crafts shop at Croweaters attracted a large number of people, including poets, writers, artists, students, lawyers and art lovers. She said that it also had great historical significance because of its presence in the cultural hub of the city. In light of this, she requested that the family keep the gallery intact in Anarkali, saying that it was a monument to the role and presence of the Parsi community in Lahore.
“MP Bhandara’s linking of the gallery to the writing of his globally renowned sister Bapsi Sidhwa was intended to highlight the contributions of their family to the cultural and social development of the city. He used to invite artists, writers and dignitaries to the roof of the building to celebrate Basant and conduct meetings. His love of the gallery clearly indicates that his vision was to keep the cultural value of his ancestral home intact,” she added. Similarly, renowned artist Professor Dr Ajaz Haider said that keeping the gallery open was a great decision on the part of the Bhandara family and the art community was thankful to them. However, he said that it was unfortunate that the family felt that it had to shift the gallery, as it had developed a cultural significance in the heart of the city. He said that shifting it would be a blow to the beauty of historic Anarkali, as it had been situated there in various forms for over a hundred years as a symbol of the Parsi community’s services and presence in the city.
Art as weapon: He said that the Bhandara family should consider opening another outlet of Croweaters in another area of the city, adding that the city needed more galleries. He said that the evolution of the country’s artists was still very important and could serve to combat the rise of the evils of terrorism and extremism.
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