Kangra paintings to adorn sarees

Kangra Arts Promotion Society has experimented in producing a commercial form of Kangra art

Kangra paintings to adorn sarees

A woman showcases a saree with an exclusive Kangra painting.

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 28

The dying art of Kangra painting may get a fresh lease of life. The Kangra Arts Promotion Society has experimented in producing a commercial form of Kangra art that could help sustain artists. For the first time, the society has got a Kangra painting commission on sarees.

The president of the Kangra Arts Promotion Society, Akshay Runchal, told The Tribune that the owner of the Hyderabad-based Indian emporium, Gaurang Shah, had commissioned the work of Kangra painting on sarees. Kangra painting artist Monu Kumar, a resident of Khaniara village, was asked to paint on a saree. He completed the work using acrylic paints in 22 days. “The sarees are being sent to the emporium with an expectation that people will like it and Kangra painters will get more work,” he said.

Runchal said that a very few people were coming forward to learn the Kangra style of painting these days due to the lack of financial incentives. “By trying to bring art on sarees, we hope that it will open up new avenues of earning for Kangra painters. If this experiment is successful and people appreciate the real Kangra art on sarees, we hope more people will come forward to keep the art alive,” he said.

The Kangra miniature paintings, though influenced by the Rajasthan miniature paintings, evolved as a unique form of art under the aegis of the rulers of the former Kangra state. However, with no government patronage, the unique art form that is part of the heritage of Kangra is dying a slow death.


Colours made from natural sources

Nineteen natural colours, generated from locally available sources are used to create a Kangra miniature painting. They are created from stones and plants found in the Kangra valley. It takes about a year to create the required colours, as they can be generated only from natural sources existing at particular times of the year.

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