Amritsar: Indian Academy of Fine Arts restoration plans on hold for now

Work has to wait unless inter-state movement resumes & threat of 3rd wave subsides

Amritsar: Indian Academy of Fine Arts restoration plans on hold for now

The restoration lab set up in 2018 by the Indian Academy of Fine Arts that runs the Thakar Singh Art Gallery was established with an aim of restoring and preserving the region’s fine arts heritage.

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10

The restoration lab set up in 2018 by the Indian Academy of Fine Arts that runs the Thakar Singh Art Gallery was established with an aim of restoring and preserving the region’s fine arts heritage.

The gallery was one of the creative epicentres during 1928 till 1970s and has a collection of valuable paintings, sculptures and other art works that dates back to pre-Partition period. IAFA had set up the restoration lab with the help of conservation experts and was to begin with conservation work, led by Ahmed Ali, who has worked as a curator for four decades at Salarjung museum in Hyderabad, when the pandemic struck. Ali is an expert in Sikh and Mughal art and had previously worked on restoring 200 art pieces for Khalsa College Museum of Sikh history.

Arvinder Chamak, Gen Secy, IAFA

We had trained our team comprising six persons, in conservation techniques. But the pandemic-induced lockdown stretched for almost one-and-a-half years and it hit our plans. Until and unless the inter-state movement resumes without restrictions and the threat of a third wave subsides, IAFA will have to wait to begin with the project.

“We had trained our team comprising six persons, in conservation techniques. But the pandemic-induced lockdown stretched for almost one-and-a-half years and it hit our plans. Since the first step in conservation was to create an optimum storage facility for art work, we have kept these art works in a temperature-controlled environment, with a temperature of 28°C and they are framed in bakelite sheets for termite and moisture resistance. The restoration work is a tedious process that requires team work and multiple techniques. We have resumed our activities just recently and are soon planning to begin with restoration as well,” said Arvinder Chamak, general secretary, IAFA.

The infrastructural cost of setting up the lab was around Rs10 lakh and IAFA had put aside a budget of Rs5 lakh for restoration. Currently, the lab stores paintings, graphics, lithographs, photographs, sculptures. The lab has 3,429 pieces of art, including 120 paintings that are more than 70-years-old. Chamak said until and unless the inter-state movement resumes without restrictions and the threat of a third wave subsides, IAFA will have to wait to begin with the project.

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