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Pics: In Kashmir, Snow Artists Are Turning the Winter Landscape Into Art

Pics: In Kashmir, Snow Artists Are Turning the Winter Landscape Into Art

As Kashmir received its first snowfall, snow artists scrounge up the snowfall in the plains to sculpt beautiful and detailed sculptures.

As the season’s first snowfall in the valley threw nature lovers into jubilation, the white carpet brought much more cheer to amateurs who showcase their snow art to onlookers. From the popular snowman, local flora and fauna to cultural artefacts, the valley was abuzz with snow sculptures covering a variety of themes.

While they experienced the year’s first heavy snowfall, social media, especially Facebook, was abuzz with these and many other creative pictures of snow sculptures. From toys to different birds and animals, pictures showcasing local culture to political uncertainty, replicas portraying influencers to philosophers, these sculptures depict the talent in the valley.

After gathering a mound of snow in a corner of a lawn at his residential house in the outskirts of Srinagar, Nadeem Shafeem, a 25-year-old amateur snow sculptor, was about to put the final touches on a popular Disney character — Simba, the lion.

snow artists in Kashmir sculpt lions
Pic Courtesy: Nadeem Shafeem

“I was waiting for the snow. However, there was less snow accumulation this season. So to sculpt the desired image was difficult amidst the lack of snow. I had to work for hours first to gather the snow, make the mound and mould it into a shape,” says Nadeem. Last year, Nadeem created a snow replica of medieval era Arabic philosopher Abu-Ali-Sina. Though the high altitude ranges of the valley receive good snowfall, the white precipitation in plains is less. In Srinagar, the department of Meteorology recorded only 2cm accumulation of snow. However, in other parts of Kashmir, the snow accumulation has been much higher than in the summer capital.

About 30 km from Nadeem’s African Panda, at Paresabad in central Kasmir’s Budgam, 35-year-old Zubair Ahmad Najar sculpted an artistic piece of a snowman with a hookah. “My 4-year-old son is quite fond of the snowman. Throughout these winter days, I would often promise him I’d make a snowman. Luckily, now as it has snowed here, I decided to fulfil my promise. I have been making the traditional snowman since childhood. But this time I decided to make it a little different. So, I completed the ensemble with a hookah and muffler,” says Zubair.

snow artists in Kashmir sculpt snowman

Madiha, a student from Mallinson School, Srinagar has posted her work on Facebook. The angles and curves made on the bird bear the perfect resemblance to real fowl. Her relative, Momin, says that she had been too eagerly waiting for snowfall to shape her passion. As soon as a few inches of the white flakes accumulated, braving all the chill, she set out to sculpt this crocodile, adds Momin.

Like Madiha and Nadeem, there are scores of amateur snow artists, who post their work on social media. Ashiq Hussain from the outskirts of Srinagar tried his best to make a fish from the heap of snow. Standing on the fence adjacent to Boulevard road, the sculpture attracted many photo enthusiasts.

snow artists in Kashmir sculpt fish

Elisa and Tabia, the school going students, attempted to make Samavar from snow. Posting the pictures of medieval era innovation, a traditional kettle to keep the tea warm, the symmetry and art of the artists aligned perfectly with the traditional artefact.

snow artists in Kashmir sculpt snow samavar

The bird made by Yasir from Srinagar was simply a beauty. With its wings patched with green coloured evergreen leaves, small eyeballs made from round pieces of charcoal were perfectly fitted too, giving the piece the look of an authentic bird.

Snow artists in Kashmir sculpt a snow bird

“It is an encouraging trend for the artisan fraternity of the valley. These efforts of amateur artists are commendable. Both society and the government should play their role by encouraging such activities. Authorities should provide youth with platforms to groom their talent,” says Syed Sajad, a brush art instructor posted at the Central University of Kashmir.

According to renowned miniature artist Basharat Hussain from Srinagar, there is tremendous scope for snow sculpturing in Kashmir. Besides giving an outlet to their passion, these amateurs are adding to the beauty of the valley, Basharat adds.

“These efforts of the young and amateur artists should be applauded and encouraged. Both government and civil society have a role to encourage the emerging talent of the valley. There is no dearth of talent in our society, but what we lack are proper opportunities. Authorities should come up with a proper platform for such kind of artists to promote this art,” says, Basharat Hussain, an art teacher and expert miniature artist from Srinagar.

While the valley braves the cold and continuous snowfall, snow artists, in particular, are making the most out of the occasion.

Snow artists in Kashmir sculpt a bear

Snow artists in Kashmir sculpt a bear

Arabic philosopher Abu-Ali-Sina
Arabic philosopher Abu-Ali-Sina carved in snow by Nadeem Shafeem

(Written by Nasir Yousufi; Edited by Yoshita Rao; All pictures taken from Facebook)

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