Dismayed by tourism department, Kashmir’s snow artists shifts to Manali

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SRINAGAR: Dismayed by the Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism department, the famous, first ever snow sculpture art camp cum exhibition titled ‘Snow Fiesta’, which was held in 2014 at Gulmarag is to be held in Manali this year.

Zahoor Din Lone, team leader of snow fiesta art camp 2014 said that the Kahsmir Valley is bestowed with the snow but the there is no scope for creativity and art.

“The tourism department has no value for event organizers, artist or sportsmen. They do promotions, events just for the sake of paper work. There is no sustenance in the tourism activities”, Lone alleges.

He said despite initiating a new thing in Kahmirs’ adventurous tourism back in 2014 in the form of Snow Sculptures, today we are dismayed, disinterested, tomorrow may be someone else.

“We have decided to seek our recognition in other parts of the country and world. This year we are going to Manali for Snow Art Camp”, he adds. He alleges, seeing popularity of the 2014 event, the department is involving few art students this year for the camp, which proves our claim that it is mare an eye wash activity for paper work.

Lone asks, if the professional artists with experience and degrees have no scope in prevailing administrative system in Kashmir Tourism, what is the fate of innocent students is?

Worth to mention, that the Snow Fiesta organized by the E-Planner in collaboration with Callisto art group gave India its first ever international Snow sculpture team this year, headed by the young budding Kashmiri artist, Lone.

Lone and his team India is leaving for international snow sculpture championship to be held in United States in the last week of January this year. This would be also the first ever participation of a team from India in any international snow championship.

According to him, the Snow art was an idea of few young budding artists of Kashmir Valley, who were deprived of any logistic and financial support to make it happen. They founded art group called ‘Callisto art & culture’ in the year 2013.

In the year 2014, he said, they ran pillar to post to perform snow art in valley. He adds despite several meetings and proposals submissions in the state’s tourism department; they were deprived of any positive response.

“It was only possible when one of my friends, owning E-Planner event management group funded our idea from own pocket, besides managing some logistic support from the state tourism.”

He said that the event was a great success as it grabs huge national and international media attention. Lone says the event also adds value to the winter tourism in Kashmir as the pictures taken with snow sculptures in 2014 by the tourists were widely shared on social site. “Even the event attracts the bollywood actress Kalika Kochline to participate in the inaugural ceremony

Ironically, the department of tourism dumped the major part of promised support and contribution, resulting in discontinuity of the event for the year 2015, 2016. He said the file of the 2014 event is lying dusted in the department and no committed recompense was paid to the organizer on pretext of one and the other thing.

“The event was not for profit making, but for the promotion of winter tourism, revival of professional snow art and a platform for the young artists. And the expenditures were afforded by the organizer either from own pocket or with the help of few art-lover businessmen.

He adds, “The artists even willingly work amid freezing temperature for 15 days without any remuneration”, Lone argued, adding this was the enthusiasm and the love for art.

Glimpse of Snow Fiesta Art camp held at Gulmarag in 2014