60-year-old sculptor Haji Amir Khan has been restricted from fulfilling his job after a prayer leader told him that making statues is a sin as per Islamic teachings. In order to satisfy his desire, he still sculpts just the hands and feet out of stone, and doesn’t sculpt the whole body.
Hailing from the historic town of Takht Bhai in Mardan district, Amir says many people asked him to make their sculptures but he refuses them, saying, “Five years ago, I had promised to myself that I won’t make sinful sculptures anymore.”
Once, he asked a question in an Islamic radio program about whether or not making human sculpture is a sin. A Mufti in that program strictly warned him and told him that it would spoil his ‘akhirat’ (the hereafter) if he made such sculptures. From that day, around 8 years ago, he did not make any more human sculptures.
Since his childhood, Haji Amir Khan was very skilled in making statues out of wire and clay and made a
number of sculptures and landscapes. He said he even spent as long as several months on one sculpture without giving up halfway.
The sculptures and paintings of Amir Khan Lala attract art lovers on a daily basis and they can’t believe their eyes when they see such beautiful artwork made out of stone. Haji Amir Khan is the artist who has so far transferred hundreds of scenes and historic photos to micro art and stone art and when he starts working, his artistic fingers amaze everyone.
Haji Amir Khan has created a lot of skilled art; from the Takht Bhai Buddha, or visuals of famous Pashtun uprisings, or a design of historic mosques or the background of the door of the house of Umara Khan, known to be a famous freedom fighter against the British rulers and hailing from Jandol, Lower Dir, in 1920s.
But the most precious work from Amir Khan is the mini stone art of arats —an ancient aggregation system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Haji Amir Khan says that he wants to keep this rare specimen of the whole world alive through his art so that future generations will be aware of stone script and stone art. This art form is difficult but Amir Khan never seems to give up.
If there are any shortcomings, it is the fact that society in general is indifferent towards him and does not appreciate him. But the artist is optimistic and thinks that his art will keep him alive until the Day of Judgment.