Experts present wonder world of art

The focus was on two eminent scholars in the field, Prof B.N. Goswamy and his counterpart from Lahore, Fakir Syed Aijazuddin. Others who shared nuggets of their knowledge were Arpana Caur, Sanjay Dhar, Gurmeet Rai, Dev Inder Singh, Saroj Rani, Subhash Parihar, Hardev Singh, Bhai Sikandar Singh, Roopinder Singh, Karuna Goswamy, Charu Huria, Ambalicka Jacob, and Preeti Bahadur.

Prof Goswamy, the man credited with giving a face to Indian art in this region, began the proceedings with “Chehre-Mohre”, on portrait painting in Punjab.

Portraiture was not a distinguishing feature of Indian art yet we find all these portraits of royalty, aristocracy and ordinary men. He also brought out the fact that there were no concrete portraits of the gurus and only two references had been found for it.

Earlier, Indian art was considered to be anonymous. Prof Goswamy in his first major work rediscovered Pahari painter Nain Sukh. Painter Arpana Caur explained the influences on her Sohni series, miniatures in Pahari art.

Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, a descendant of the royal physician of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore, who has inherited art works and sensibilities, touched upon areas of artistic commonality. He took the audience on an impassioned trip of Lahore down the ages through painting and sketches.

Art conservation architect Gurmeet Rai shed light on the flooring and gilding of Harmandar Sahib and the role of Sardar Lehana Singh Majithia. He brought out the fact that contrary to popular belief that Maharaja Ranjit had got the gilding done at the temple, it had been through contributions made by various sardars and people under the maharaja’s patronage. It was not funded by the state treasury.

Dev Inder Singh presented a slide show on mud houses while Parihar gave a detailed account of monuments of medieval Punjab. Roopinder Singh shared his slides and photographs of the frescoes at Pothimala building in Guru Harsahai, near Ferozepore. Karuna Goswamy revisited her earlier work on miniatures of Qissa-i-Chahar Darvesh and digressed from her earlier conclusions.

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