The Times of India

Over 90 students from the Dawoodi Bohra community’s 21 Madrasa Saifiyah Burhaniyah (MSB) Educational Institutes in India and abroad showcased their diverse artworks in a two-day exhibition in Mumbai recently. The exhibition, titled ‘SmArt Talent Hunt – Artists of Tomorrow’, featured over 400 artworks of students from grades 6 to 12. Covering a range of subjects, mediums and concepts, the paintings and sketches focused on nature, wildlife, architecture, cityscape and cultural treasures.

Speaking on the philosophy and execution of this initiative, Yusuf Vankanerwala, an artist and a teacher at MSB Educational Institute, said, ‘Art encourages self-expression and creativity in children which are essential building blocks in their holistic educational development. The objective of initiating this art programme was to identify students who have interest and passion in art and provide them with proper training and guidance to further enhance their artistic skills.’ He added that more than 80 professional art training sessions, spanning over 153 hours, were conducted virtually to help students interact and engage with trainers and other fellow students across different regions.

Using different types of mix-media art forms, including pen, pencil, acrylic, watercolours and charcoal, each artwork presented by students told a unique story and was a window through which they displayed their artistic creativity. Asma Murtaza, a grade 8 student at MSB Mumbai, displayed a series of paintings in mixed media featuring the mausoleums of past community leaders. She said, ‘These mausoleums located across India stand as the enduring symbols of beauty, tranquillity and grace. In the heart of the faithful, they evoke wonder, gratitude and everlasting contentment.’ Fifteen-year-old Burhanuddin Pajkotwala from Dubai captured the vibrancy and culture of the Middle East in his paintings. ‘The portrait of the camel which I have reimagined into a colourful piece, symbolises the peaceful coexistence of a diverse mix of ethnicities and cultures that shape the identity of the region.’

With its branches in 25 cities and towns in India and abroad, MSB Educational Institute is a chain of Dawoodi Bohra schools affiliated with ICSE, State Board, CBSE or IGCSE boards depending on their location. The schools offer a K-12 educational program in a stimulating and nourishing environment, allowing students to excel in academics and become responsible and upstanding members of society.

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