This young artist creates ‘bio-portraits’ of Pakistan’s war heroes

Sometimes love and respect for models take weird forms and shapes. Artists or writers would definitely add their own creative colour to carve out the most favourite model or hero into altogether new shade of light they love and adore.

Ihsan Danish Yousafzai alias Dani, a young graduate and resident of Swabi district, grew up with love and respect for war martyrs and national heroes. He has come up with his bio-sketching art to pay tribute to war veterans on 23rd March. It takes him 26 days to complete a single portrait.

Mr Yousafzai had started with charcoal drawing, pencil sketch and spray paint but then gradually he switched over to carving out images and scripting on the scalps of fruits and stalks of different vegetables.

From scribbling and flower patterns, Dani’s love for sons of the soil matured into the art of bio-sketch, a pencil portrait inscribed with full biography of the personality he adores the most .

“Making a bio-sketch of my ideal personality is just an expression of my love and respect for that particular hero. I want people to know my unique art.”

He had sketched portraits of Quaid-i- Azam, Allama Iqbal, Fatima Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. He said it seemed to be like topography but quite diffirent from it.

He said it needed a lot of hard work, research and keen observation.

“Since childhood, an artist within me wanted to come out and that was to appreciate the heroes of our land who had laid down their precious lives for the safety and honour of our nation,” Dani told this scribe.

He said that he was neither a poet to etch words nor a singer to sing for them. “I discovered that I could sketch those sacred souls, who have embraced martyrdom,” he added.

The artist said when he was a child he would get inspired by biographies of national heroes and their achievements. “At times, we never give attention to lessons we could draw from lives of those made us immortal by sacrificing their own souls,” he said.

Dani said that an artist could at least adore those martyrs through a piece of art whether a word, idea, statue, paint or sketch.

Dani said that he had completed about 11 bio-sketches of Nishan-i- Haider holders for 23rd March and wanted to display the bio-sketches on 23rd March, 2016. He had written a letter to the quarters concerned in Islamabad but did not receive a response.

“Earlier I used materials for my sketching that were perishable and which could not satisfy my urge to pay a long standing tribute to my ideals. Then an idea of bio-sketching on canvas suddenly struck my mind in 2008, which I believe is my brainchild. I did some research to collect necessary information about my war veterans — Nishan-i- Haider holders — and then executed my project,” he added.

The artist said that he had completed for the event of 23rd March about 11 bio-sketches of Nishan-i- Haider holders including Capt Mohammad Sarwar Shaheed, Maj Tufail Mohammad Shaheed, Maj Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed, Maj Shabbir Sharif Shaheed, Sowar Mohammad Hussain Shaheed, Maj Mohammad Akram Shaheed, Lance Naik Mohammad Mahfuz Shaheed, Capt Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed, Havaldar Lalak Jan Shaheed and Naik Saif Ali Janjua.

Dani said that he wanted to display his bio-sketches on 23rd March, 2016 and even had written a letter to the quarters concerned in Islamabad but he was not responded. He said that he had sent a message to an art home in Islamabad and was positive that it would give him a welcoming response to recognise his art and display his pieces there.

He has also made bio-sketches of former slain provincial police chief Malak Saad and FC commandant Sifwat Ghayur.

He said he wished he had showcased his art pieces at an art gallery so that art lovers could appreciate his talent.

“I had made a bio-sketch of the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) ‘Filippo Grandi’ and presented it to him on his visit to Peshawar in August last year. He recognised my art and granted a commendation certificate to me,” said Dani.

He said that his models included social workers, peace activists, humanists, war veterans, statesman, intellectuals and literary giants. He said that he could work on wheat straws and glass paint.

He has made bio-sketches of Khushal Khan Kattak, Rahman Baba, Bacha Khan, Hamza Baba and Ghani Khan. He said he would make bio-sketches of Pakhtun heroes of the yore days including Gaju Khan, Malak Ahmad and Kalu Khan. “Making a bio-sketch of my ideal personality is just an expression of my love and respect for that particular hero. I want people know my unique art,” he added.

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