Nasir Javed is a man that can best be defined as an art crusader, a person passionate about promoting art to the fullest. A person who believes that art is for everyone and should be made public. Here in an interview with Nigaah, he talks about the significance of buying art and how it can be supported.
Nigaah: How did you get involved in art?
Nasir Javed: When I went to Egypt, I noticed the art over there and saw that how they have collected and saved the ancient art pictures from thousands of years. This show us the history and by looking at the pictures we can tell what happened during the olden days. Then again in Paris, I observed the art scenario over there and saw the primeval art over there from the time of Jesus Christ. They have depicted many important events of the history through their art, so this instilled a feeling of interest in me to see how we can support art and how we can try to capture art and learn through art. In Egypt I also saw an ancient door that had been carved with predictions of what will happen in the future in terms of religious practices, and all those things have become a reality now.
Nigaah: How are you supporting art?
Nasir Javed: I am not just an art collector, I am an art promoter too. I try to encourage the new artists. I buy their paintings and try to showcase them through my office, my home so that when other people, my friends and family come and see those paintings, they too get encouraged to buy art. I strongly feel that if anybody can afford it, they should buy art and display it in their homes and offices.
Nigaah: There are many art collectors in Pakistan. What do you have to say about that?
Nasir Javed: In Pakistan, many art collectors are doing it from the business point of view. They buy famous work so that later it can be sold at a higher price. Hence the new artists are not encouraged by this. It has become all commercial. There are very few art connoisseurs around here who buy art for the sake of art, who understand what art is.
Nigaah: When you display art in your office and home, what do you intend to achieve?
Nasir Javed: First of all, I try to collect art work of young budding artist or even art students who need support and display their work so that when people look at them, they pause for a moment, they question about it and hence some awareness is created. Our job is to support the young artists so that they get financially strong and their work is noticed and appreciated too. I never refuse any paintings. If I come across a collection of hundred paintings, I buy them all, I never return two or three back and never say that I do not like the paintings. To me, all paintings are good, because the artists must have put a lot of effort to create them.
Nigaah: How important is it to collect art?
Nasir Javed: Art should be collected to preserve history. All the paintings tell us stories of the present time and after two hundred years, these paintings will become historical evidence of what happened back then. A painting that shows water crises today, will become a reality later. People will look at it and wonder how true this is because the artist has portrayed an imagination of the world to come in the shortage of water and that is exactly what will happen in the years to come. Similarly, many paintings are portrayal of women that show their facial expressions and we can clearly comprehend their feelings, the oppression being done on them and how they are suffering. So this too, becomes a depiction of our social issues, our society and our problems. I feel that art should be viewed beyond its actual realm of just paintings. It is history, it is reality and it a strong medium that creates an impact for a long time. We should preserve art so that our history is preserved.
Nigaah: Do you view art as depiction of history?
Nasir Javed: Yes, if you want to learn about the past, you only find it in books. But if you capture history in the form of painting, it is visible to everyone and by looking at it people will know what is our past.
Nigaah: You are collecting art on an individual basis, how can it be done on a large scale?
Nasir Javed: There are various art shows taking place around the world where the government supports such ventures. On a larger scale, we should help out the senior artists by arranging art shows so that it becomes a public art. Government can engage artists to decorate various areas of Pakistan. Like that they will earn money and our country will also become beautiful. The other most important thing we should do is write books about the artists so that people will know that these were the artists of our time.
Nigaah: Which painting has impressed you so far?
Nasir Javed: I cannot classify the paintings like that. Every painting has a story to tell and I find every work of the artist inspirational. I do not even look at the name of the artist, I look at the painting alone and buy it.
How does art improve the mood?
Nasir Javed: Paintings have a great impact on the mood of a person. I have many paintings in my house and whenever I reach home, I get transformed into another world as looking at these paintings reveal something new each time.
What do you have to say about plagiarism, where famous work is copied?
Nasir Javed: This has been happening all over the world, but you cannot stop it. The art collectors should try to stop this as they recognize true art.
Nigaah: How do me spend your Sundays?
Nasir Javed: To me there is no Sunday. I work on all seven days and there is no concept of a holiday in my life. We are born to work.
Nigaah: Any message you want to give to other art collectors?
Nasir Javed: The only thing I can say is to promote young artists and also never buy art to do business.