‘Pride of Sialkot’ painter Kanwar is no more

Published 16 Aug, 2017 10:27am

Famous artist, painter and calligrapher Bashir Kanwar died after a protracted illness at a local hospital on Tuesday. He was 76.

He had taught the basics of painting and calligraphy to local artists for years. Despite lacking resources, Kanwar worked for the promotion of painting and calligraphy. His dream was to establish an art academy in Sialkot which was never realised. He was laid to rest in Babul Shaheed Graveyard with his unfulfilled dreams. A large number of people from all walks of life attended the funeral.

Though he was not awarded any national award, Kanwar was called the “Pride of Sialkot” among the local art circles because of his devotion to art.

Bashir Kanwar's works — Photos courtesy Sialkot Art Council's Facebook page
Bashir Kanwar's works — Photos courtesy Sialkot Art Council's Facebook page

In a conversation with this Dawn correspondent on March 1, Kanwar had said, “I have spent almost whole of life for the promotion of arts in the Sialkot region without any support by the government”.

He complained that his thousands of paintings would occasionally get space in art houses for exhibition. In 2009, his work was displayed in Karachi.

His one-room ‘Bashir Kanwar Arts Academy’ would be full of his pupils from morning till night.

Kanwar is survived by two sons and as many daughters. He had written Kalma-i-Tayyaba on the seed of rice, besides, making paintings of Kaaba and Masjid-i-Nabvi on the seeds of daal, which gained him praises.

Born in 1942, Kanwar had also made the titles of most the newspapers and magazines in India and Pakistan besides logos of several factories of Sialkot.

Originally published in Dawn, August 16th, 2017