A young artist sits putting pieces of marble together. He then places them together in a unique fashion to create a piece of artwork. The colours are vibrant and intricate designing with meticulously chalked out symmetry and style makes the product more than just another mosaic piece of art.
The 29-year-old Muhammad Ahsan Zeb, a resident of Mardan, is passionate about preserving a dying and rare art form in the district. Having learnt the work from his father, he collects leftover marble pieces from factories and makes pictures that closely resemble paintings.
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“The marble produced in our province and in Balochistan has more than 100 different shades that add more beauty to mosaic art,” Zeb tells The Express Tribune. He says work that is created with a plethora of marble pieces shines brightly and with some additional craftsmanship, the piece becomes a mix of classic and contemporary art.
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The artist says mosaic is one of the oldest art forms in the world and pieces have been used in decorating houses and other buildings for several centuries.
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“It is like contemporary fine art, not just decorative art,” he says, adding, mosaic work can be used to decorate tables, serve as wall hangings like paintings and also floor decorations. “They can also be abstract representations of art,” he says.
Zeb says there is a large supply of marble in the province and aspiring artists who have vivid imagination and can make something great from small objects with unique techniques can collect them and put them to use in the rare mosaic art field. “The industry can flourish, entrepreneurs can catch up with a new trend and mosaic work can ultimately receive a boost,” he says.
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Passion for mosaic
The fact that Zeb suggests ideas for a potential blooming industry reflects his love for the art form. However, this is not the only thing he says that explains his zeal.
“I am more passionate about this ancient art form that has never been used in our province despite presence of large reserves of marble and other stones and that is why I want to train others in the field,” Zeb says.
The artist who is actually a graphic designer and has a Master’s degree in fine arts from University of Peshawar (UoP) has diverted all his attention towards mosaic art. He also organised a week-long training project for artists, especially for women, to share his secrets of work and equip them with the basic knowledge regarding the art form.