Dharamsala, May 22
A five-day workshop to preserve the ancient art of frescoes on heritage buildings in Kangra district is under way at the Nandpur Guler fort here. Experts from all over India are training students of fine arts from various colleges in the ancient art of drawing frescoes on the walls of heritage buildings.
Raghav Guleria, owner of the Nandpur Guler fort who is organising the workshop, said, “Mohrakashi is a lime fresco tradition indigenous to Punjab. It gained prominence under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 19th century. The development of Mohrakashi through this period gave rise to the Sikh school of art, with murals dominated by floral and foliage designs under the influence of the Kangra school of art.”
He said that in Punjab, Mohrakashi frescoes adorn gurdwaras, temples, cenotaphs, havelis, inns and akharas. Similarly, in the Kangra region, frescoes depicting erotic sentiments of Radha and Krishna were predominant, though the production of such works fell out of fashion in the past 100 years, he added.
Guleria said that it was for the first time that a unique workshop showcasing this heritage art form was being held at the Guler fort. It is being organised under the aegis of Kimberley Moyle, founder of Indi Architecture. Master artisan Gupreet Singh from Jagraon is teaching a small group of eager participants, who have travelled from across the country to take part.
Suresh K. Nair, an experienced mural artist from Kerala and Professor at Banaras University, is one such person, who along with Dhani Ram Kushdil, a respected Kangra miniature artist, have joined the workshop with his students. Phalguni Shinkar, a passionate young architect from Pune, Arjun Jain, an accomplished artist from Delhi, Ramesh, an expert lime artisan from Bihar, and Pankaj Trivedi, a documentary maker from Mumbai, are also taking part in the workshop.
INTACH Kangra chapter president LN Agarwal too visited the workshop. He congratulated the organisers for their enthusiasm in keeping this art form alive, Raghav said.
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