Growing up admiring the beautiful wall-paintings in his hometown Bhiwani, artist Ram Partap Verma is pained to see this amazing art vanish. Around 200 years old, done with natural pigments on choona, the scenes from mythology, daily life and nature have lasted this long. It’s only now that ‘haveli-owners’ have moved to cities and this art is dying a slow death.
An artist, a sensitive soul, Verma has documented these beautiful wall paintings in a book, Wall Paintings: The Vanishing Treasure, and a 33-minute documentary with the same title. “Today we use the best and costliest paints in our homes, but to witness these natural pigments in just three primary colours — yellow, red and indigo — and green as secondary, last for close to 200 years is remarkable,” says Verma.
He grew up admiring the art in these havelis. “Ram and Ravan yudh to Krishna’s raas lila, the walls have splendid paintings.” He fondly talks of how the domes that sahukaars had next to their havelis were also rich in art.
While he sees no possible way to save the dying wall paintings, he is happy that he could preserve them in his book and film. “One of the havelis with splendid work was half destroyed a little while after I made the film. It is devastating to witness that, but I am glad that I documented them just in time!”
The book that’s been published by The Browser has 252 pages, and over 500 arts works spread over 18 chapters. Before joining the Art College in Chandigarh, Verma painted cinema hoardings and signboards in his hometown Bhiwani. — TNS
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