Tommy privilaged with Kashmir invite

Tommy Barr discussing one of his paintings with Mrs. Usha Vohra, photographer and wife of the Governor of Kashmir
Tommy Barr discussing one of his paintings with Mrs. Usha Vohra, photographer and wife of the Governor of Kashmir

Local Artist Tommy Barr was delighted to be the only European Artist to be invited to the International Spring Art Kashmir in northern India, this year

Tommy said it was a great privilege to take part in the annual event in Srinagar, the Capital of the Princely State.

“The 16 artists were housed and provided with studio space in the DP Dhar Trust Public School,” said Tommy.

“With 4,700 pupils on site the school provided a vibrant atmosphere and proved to be an inspired choice of venue. The children were all very well-mannered and polite, but also highly inquisitive and great fun.”

Tommy had the opportunity to provide instruction for some of the art students and thoroughly enjoyed their enthusiasm.

Before travelling Tommy was advised to expect a culture shock and despite his significant past travels as a practicing artist he said he was slightly overwhelmed.

Tommy said: “Despite the obvious hardships the people endure, they were so friendly and kind it would be very difficult not to love the place.”

The artists painted on location and the exhibition was entirely created in Kashmir. Tommy said: “The result was a coherent collection of paintings with many references to Kashmir and to what the artists were experiencing.

“The exhibition was officially opened by VIP guest, Her Excellency First Lady Mrs Usha Vohra.

“In her opening remarks Mrs Vohra noted the extent to which Kashmir had influenced the paintings and the many subtle and creative ways in which the artists had handled these influences.”

The artists were also presented with many opportunities to travel and enjoy the state.

One of the many highlights was a ride on the Gulmarg cable car to the shoulder of Mount Apharwat, where the artists met with local tribesmen and spent the remainder of the day at altitude on horseback.”

Tommy said the area felt very like Belfast during the early 80s and as he traveled towards the Pakistan border the military presence scaled up even more. He said that local knowledge is essential, but that at no time did he feel at risk. He said the beauty of the Himalayan landscape is totally captivating.

After his trip Tommy was deeply saddened to learne of a terrorist attack close to Strinagar in which eight people were killed.

Tommy said that India and its people have clearly made a great impression on him and inspiration from this trip looks likely to permeate his future paintings which can be viewed on his website at www.tbarr.com.