Srinagar: Papier m'ché artists painted pebbles to convey the message of peace and brotherhood among youth in Jammu and Kashmir`s Srinagar city.
The artists put beautiful painted stones on display during the ongoing national handicraft festival on Sunday.
Nazir Ahmed Mir, a papier m'ché artist, transformed dull stones into beautiful showpieces.
"I thought that this would also be a message that one should not see a stone as a stone but it can also become a flower. An individual needs to take an initiative. People only see this side or form of the stone, but I wish they could see the other side of the stone," he said.
Mir said that the purpose was to showcase that stones could not be used merely to hurt someone.
Scores of youth in the Kashmir Valley had last year pelted stones at security personnel after many innocent teenagers were allegedly shot by police and army men, who were deployed in the area.
The state witnessed months of shutdowns and violence that adversely affected the economy apart from affecting the tourism sector severely.
Mir, who has been in the craft business for the last 24 years, collected pebbles from the river beds and converted them into exquisite piece of art.
Mir, who inherited this art from his father, said that the craft fair provided him with an opportunity to communicate to the people and suggest to them not to look at pebbles as a weapon that could be used to harm.
"Youth who use the stone for wrong purposes, should know that these very stones would give them employment and that is why I think it is a good craft," said Mohammad Sidiq, a local.
Mir further said that he has so far used papier m'ché on more than 300 stones and looks forward to create more such pieces of art due to the rise in its demand.
"For many years, the stones were being used for wrong reasons. These stones should be presented like flowers to others. And we hope that this would give a good and positive message to people," said Abdul Rasheed, another papier-m'ché artist.
Mir hopes that this art would be picked up by others in the Kashmir Valley, and generate employment for many.