By Hina Kiyani
ISLAMABAD: Prizes of the much awaited national art event “Arjumand Painting Award 2019” were presented during closing ceremony of the Islamabad Art Festival 2019. Atif Rais Khan, Chairman of LMKR and LMKT and leading art collector of Pakistan, presented the awards to the winner.
This year, to the astonishment of everyone, the first three prizes were bagged by the graduates of Punjab University, College of Art & Design (PUCAD); and the three merit prizes were attained by the graduates of National College of Arts (NCA).
The winners were Unab Sumble (First Prize of Rs. 200,000), Samra Cheema (Second Prize of Rs. 150,000), Javaid Iqbal Mughal (Third Prize of Rs. 100,000). Merit awards (Rs. 50,000 each) were received by Rahman Zada, Asghar Ali and Nadia Batool.
“Arjumand Painting Award” is a biennial award, which is the first ever art award by any private gallery in Pakistan at the national level for artists 25 -40 years of age. It was instituted in 2015 by Gallery 6 Islamabad. The award has created immense interest among the younger breed of the artists, which is reflected in increasing number of participants in each award.
In 2019, 139 artists from all over Pakistan have submitted paintings, which is far more compared to previous years. Hence, it could be said that APA is gaining popularity and becoming an iconic art award for promoting art and supporting young artists who have no access to patronage.
The key purpose of the Award is to emphasize the importance of importance of classically recognized characteristics of quality painting among new, emerging and recently established artists and to fill a void for the appreciation and recognition of outstanding emerging painters.
The Gallery’s conviction is that the Award will generate or maintain interest in the classical art form of painting, as it is dwindling away with he increasing use of computers and other technologies in art”.
This year the judges were five well known art personalities: Rahat Masud, Mobina Zuberi, RM Naeem, Sana Arjumand and Irfan Gul Dahri.
The judgment was done in three rounds. In the first round 44 paintings were selected from 139 submissions. From these each judge independently selected her/his six best paintings and gave them scores.
The scores were tabulated and six top ranking paintings were shortlisted. In the final round, the judges again reviewed these six paintings and gave them scores again after very careful analysis. These scores were fed in the computer and result was generated. Interestingly, even the judges were not aware of the final result till announced.
According to the judges, quality of paintings is high, which made the selection a difficult task. They praised that the gallery management made efforts to keep the judgment process very objective, systematic, transparent and unbiased. Each judge scored paintings separately and were not even allowed to speak to each other throughout the process. This very unique approach even deprives the organizers to influence the result.