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Art as resistance - 12 images that remind us of the violence in Kashmir

With a motive to draw global attention towards the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, Masood Hussain, an award winning artist/sculptor from Kashmir, has come up with an artistic portrayal of pellet-hit children and some other important events in the history of Kashmir.

Hussain was inspired by the sight of the overcrowded ward of SMHS hospital, Srinagar, where pellet-hit children were treated.

"I saw a large number of young boys and girls being hit with pellets. Their future has been pushed to darkness. I couldn\'t bear the fact that our kids are being blinded by the pellets. I decided to protest through my artwork and let the world know what is happening in Kashmir", says Hussain.

Hussain started sharing these digital images on Facebook. "I thought that Facebook is the \'master medium\', so I started uploading my digital art on my Facebook profile," says Hussain.

"My ongoing project is dedicated to current unrest in Kashmir that has left 76 people dead and over 10,000 injured. All my images are self explanatory and a symbolic representation showing different expression of children of conflict", says Hussain.

His most striking artwork includes a child holding a schoolbag that has stones spilling over, two boy who have been blinded by pellets walking together with a long shadow cast ahead of them, creating a dark uncertain trail of their future, a boy and a girl with pellet-marked faces wearing an oversized pair of sunglasses, and many more. Hussain calls these depictions \'silent images\'.

"In one of the images northern part of the map of India has been divided into the three parts to show how we are torn between countries like India, Pakistan and China. And the ancient coins incorporated in each part is symbolic representation of the history of rulers in Kashmir", says Hussain.

Another image shows a cradle placed under guns. "It shows that how our kids live under constant threat of getting killed. It is like-living under the shadow of death", says Hussain.

Hussain says that most of the affected children and youth in Kashmir have grown up in conflict that had a negative impact on their psychological health as well.

"This is the time when kids should be going to school with their school bags filled with books but they are participating in protest," rues Hussain, adding after a brief silence, "What has happened to our younger generations should not have happened at all."

Till the 90s, Hussain\'s art focused on the beauty, culture and social life of Kashmir. It was after 1989 that Hussain shifted his focus to the Valley\'s turmoil.

Not just a conscientious artist who sees himself as the witness of his times, he is also a sculptor. One of his most acclaimed works is a 30-foot-tall stone sculpture, \'Fountain\', installed at Badam Vaer in Srinagar.

Hussain says that the burdens of history have been imposed upon generations of Kashmiris and no one had been left untouched by political strife in the valley.