Shabir Ahmad Najar has not been schooled in any artists’ den or an art school yet this 42-year old Kashmiri has painted the town in vivid colours and meaningful images to create feel-good vibes in south Kashmir’s towns.
Najar, 42, is a self-taught artist whose service has been hired by the Shopian Municipal Corporation had been painting the graffiti and murals for past several weeks as part of the district administration’s beautification drive.
His work is evoking public interests and he has already been given a nickname of ‘The Colour Player’ by the townsfolk. Kashmiris are generally fond of giving nicknames to famous persons.
He has already won a lot of praise from one and all in the town for his impeccable artwork.
“His paintings are charming and are irresistible,” said Altaf Ahmad, a local.
Shabir Ahmed Najar at work in Shopian
Najar has so far created graffiti and murals on more or less a dozen walls in the town as part of the Municipal Committee Shopain’s (MCS) beautification drive.
“These exquisite images and graffiti make you stop at least for a moment,” said Nasir Amin Allaqaband pointing towards a shade painting on a wall.
Najar hails from village Dangerpora of the neighbouring Pulwama town. He left his school when he was in 10th standard and took to drawing pictures first on paper and then on street walls.
“Since my childhood, I had a strange penchant for colours,” he told Greater Kashmir newspaper. He spoke to the reporter while giving some finishing touches to a mural painted on a huge wall opposite Government Boys Higher Secondary School.
Najar said that he had worked on numerous walls and signboards over the past many years across Kashmir. “You will find my paintings in almost every district of the Valley,” said Najar.
Besides working on the street walls, he also paints 3D pictures on walls of classrooms meant for kindergarten children. He works magic by painting pictures of animals, rivers, toys and many other objects on these walls.
However, he said that over the last few years, he was struggling to make ends meet due to the Covid-related lockdowns.
“Last year I did not work at all and this year I was without work for at least three months,” Najar said.