Culture

Prisoners help families by selling art

Prisoners sell art

Prisoners attending an art school run by other prisoners in Pakistan are finding solace in making music and painting. Their work is also sold, with the proceeds going to financially support their families while they are in prison

Over the past 10 years, Muhammad Ijaz has learned how to paint and is now an art teacher himself.

Ijaz picked up this new hobby in Karachi Central Jail, where he is serving a 25-year sentence for kidnapping.

He says that learning and teaching art has helped him both financially and spiritually.

"I became interested in art here in prison. What we paint here is sold in exhibitions," he says.

“We support our families with the money we earn through these paintings and meet our expenses here. Recently, our paintings were exhibited in an exhibition in Islamabad. Some of our paintings were sold and some are still on display."

Painting is also an escape, a way to convey emotions. He says it helps him deal with the stress that comes with life in prison.

"I have a calming feeling when I paint. Colors convey mood of happiness, sadness. I display various expressions of humor through paintings. This painting I just finished portrays happiness and sadness during a journey," says Ijaz.

Ijaz is just one of many incarcerated teachers at the art school set up in the prison.

Here, prisoners can also learn embroidery and music.

Adnan Qureshi, who was imprisoned at the age of 25 and is now 40, is a music teacher.

He says music and song offer prisoners a way out of boredom.

Prisoners do not get any time off their sentences for attending art school, something Qureshi would like to change.

There are about 6 prisoners in the prison.

And more than 1 of them attend various classes at the art school.