Srinagar: When a commercial of a cloth brand featuring Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma flashed on TV, artisan Shabir Ahmad Malik took out cardboard and drew a portrait of the celebrity couple.
Malik, 54, a Papier Mache artisan, who calls himself a big fan of Virat, thought to make it different from the ones available in the market.
Therefore, he decided to make a 3D portrait of Virat and Anushka by blending Kashmir’s Papier Mache with Iranian art.
“An artisan is like a poet. While watching the commercial, it hit my mind to draw Virat’s 3D portrait. It indeed was a work of patience and took me six months to complete the portrait,” said Malik who worked as a Papier Mache artisan for over 40 years before switching to 3D and abstract paintings.
Malik said drawing the faces of both these celebrities in 3D art was the most challenging part of the project. “It was very difficult to draw the faces of the couple. I had to draw it four times to make it a 3D picture. The flower in the corner of the portrait is Iranian art,” he said.
Malik said the main motive behind the project was to promote Kashmir art globally. “Virat is a global icon and through his 3D portrait, I want to promote Kashmir art at a bigger level. Since the pandemic hit the valley, artisans particularly those associated with Papier Mache have suffered a lot,” he said.
Malik is hopeful that Virat appreciates his art. “Even his word of mouth or simple tweet will be a great promotion of Kashmir’s art. I will keep this portrait with me but if Virat likes it, I will give it to him,” he said.
Malik has drawn portraits of many personalities including Dirlis Ertugrul fame Engin Altan Düzyatan, Cengiz Coşkun, and politicians, Karan Singh and Dalai Lama.
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Malik said he wants to continue working as a 3D painter and train the younger generation. “I am currently guiding many young artisans to learn this art. We can give a touch of our local culture in this art to highlight Kashmir handicrafts,” he said.
While Malik is getting fame through his art, he regrets the loss of his work in a recent fire incident.
“I lost everything in a fire incident in Habakadal two years ago. I had some valuable books and art creations,” he said.