The Serenarts Programme is an initiative of Serena Hotels to promote artisans and give them an opportunity to display and sell their work. In some cases these are dying crafts and need patronage.
Mohammad Waseem an artisan from D.I Khan, learned the craft from his father, Mohammad Ashraf, who was himself a “national treasure” , whose work was awarded the Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan. Waseem traces his lineage to Ustad Karim Ali , a famous artist in the court of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. Waseem’s great , great grandfather left Delhi during the violence of 1857 to settle in Dera Isamil Khan, where Waseem now works.
Waseem painstakingly pays attention to details in his work. The wood he uses is seasoned and immersed into rainwater, before being coated with layers upon layers of paint. Traditional designs are painted onto the base and he then begins the task of intricately carving out the details. The entire procedure takes anything, between 1-10 days.
Waseem’s family assists him with the handiwork. His wife Ayesha, like Waseem, hopes that their children carry on the legacy, but also wishes for them complete their education and pursue a career that can help them earn a better living. Waseem expressed concerns over the diminishing value of such art forms and hopes that efforts be made to preserve the tradition of creating such works.
“We are helping artisans from different parts of Pakistan, by giving them a platform at the Serena Hotel to showcase and sell. We even guide the artisans with new ideas; to use their age old craft in making objects that are sell able and in demand.’ Asma Rashid Khan, director SerenArts program.