Islamabad - The concrete, abrasive and rather ‘boring’ 90-feet long boundary wall of the French Embassy in Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave is now a domain of public art, with murals attracting visitors, embassy staff as well as the visa seekers who can enjoy the unique calligraphic art of Zahid Mayo and his team of artists from Lahore.
It is now a creative masterpiece as the five-member team spent 10 days on this project, assigned by the Embassy of France.
These artists are from the Institute of Art & Culture (IAC) Lahore and they had come all the way to embellish the long boundary wall of the French embassy with colourful text and words of Victor Hugo, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, and other French and Pakistani philosophers.
Speaking to Gulf News, Zahid Mayo said the text selection was based on the works of poets and writers of both countries.
“We chose some of Iqbal’s poetic verses and later held meetings with the Ambassador Dr Marc Barety and Cultural Consular Andre da Bussy, who further guided us regarding the selection of texts. They gave us a few translations from French literature in Urdu. Then we juxtaposed both the countries’ texts into composite visuals on the wall,” he said.
The two lead artists Zahid Mayo and Tayyaba Sabir were supported by the volunteers Rabia Tayyab and Husnain Sabir to complete the project before Bastille Day on July 14.
When asked how they got this assignment from the French Embassy, he said the Ambassador met them a few months back at an exhibition. “He liked our work and asked us to do something for the French embassy and we agreed.”
Mayo, who is a visual artist based in Lahore and creates mural in urban areas and suburbs of the city further said it was a Public Art project done on the boundary wall, where people go for visa applications.
He said the power of art can transform anything into a valuable experience.
Sabir, also a visual and textile artist, and fresco conservator based in Lahore. She has done her Masters in visual arts from BNU. She also uses text in her work. Currently, she is exhibiting her work in different galleries.
According to a senior embassy official, Veronique Wagner, every year the embassy uses the occasion of the French National Day to encourage young Pakistani artists so that people can know about their talent. At the Bastille Day reception, Minister Mukhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar awarded these artists for their wonderful work, said Wagner.