LAHORE - Coopera Art Gallery is a platform to promote and to encourage the new talent. The gallery has introduced a good number of budding artistes since its establishment in 1963 without taking any charges from them. Director curator of the gallery, Muhammad Javed said that Coopera Art Gallery is a unit of Pakistan Writers Cooperative Society, which was established in 1963 by a group of intellectuals and senior civil servants. It comprises twenty-five members in total. It is a non-profitable and non-political organisation working for the promotion of art, culture and literature, he maintained. Javed said our society has its own resources to meet the expenditures of the gallery. If a painting of an artiste sells then we take 20 per cent services charges. But the paintings do not sell every day. He said it seems that the priorities of the people have been changed. Their interest towards art, culture and literature have greatly declined and now it was the duty of the government to make circumstances favourable for the artistes and the art lovers, Javed stressed. The first Secretary General of the gallery was Gen Iftikhar Ahmad Adni, who worked for the gallery for a long time. He was the senior civil servant and the author of a number of books. Now I am the Secretary General and Director curator of the gallery since 1997, Javed told. Average seven to eight exhibitions are held here every year. Sometimes exhibition of a single artistes work is held and sometimes 20 to 25 painters work exhibitions are held in the gallery. He said though our country was facing terrorism but despite that last year we organised six exhibitions. Due to these activities we feel calm and peace. Recently we held one exhibition from June to August. The gallery have a collection of more than ten thousand books including general books, literature, Islamic books, books on fine arts, poetry books and travelling books. We have also books from different artistes, which they have given us for sale, Javed revealed. This gallery had the honour of exhibiting original works of old masters, such as, Abdur Rehman Chughtai, Ustad Allah Bukhsh, Prof Anna Molka Ahmed, Dr Ejaz Anwar, Ghulam Rasool, Zulkernain, Zubaida Javed, Rahat Naveed, Dr Khalid Mehmood, Ahmad Khan, Askari Mian, an Iranian painter Zahoorul Ikhlaq, Prof Shakir Ali, Sadequain and many others, Javed said. Since the establishment of the gallery, the society has been organising exhibitions of paintings, calligraphy, graphics and sculpture by artistes from Pakistan and other countries. It is also publishing literary books, arranging lectures and workshops, he informed. Coopera Art Gallery along with displaying the work of senior painters has the focus on introducing new talent and developing relationship among artistes, critics, writers, art lovers and persons having similar interest. It holds exhibitions regularly and paintings remain on display round the year, Javed revealed. He said the artistes from Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and from other cities also come here to display their works. An exhibition is usually held for 10 to 15 days. Javed said due to the inflation, the peoples did not have the purchasing power to buy books. But for the promotion of the art our gallery has performed the vital role, whereas the popularity graph of the other galleries has fallen, he proudly said. Javed said the promotion of the art is the symbol of the promotion of the nations, but when the art declines then the nations remain far behind in progress. This period is the chaos period, very few students come for studies, because the priorities have been changed now. He said the artistes, who had spent a lot on their work, did not get their money back, but by providing them platform we provide encouragement to the grooming artistes. Muhammad Javed said this was the time that all the galleries of the city need the government attention, because the progress of the nations is linked with the progress of the art.