Spice Feature           Exquisite           artwork                                                                       ...
The picturesque valley of Kangra attracts one and all. And from its pristine but faded history    evolves the tradition of...
Spice Feature                                                      where Krishna leela predominated the shades.           ...
UNBELIEVABLY                                                 NEVER BEFORE OFFER.                        SuperStar Virgo ta...
Spice Feature                                                                                                             ...
Spice Jet Feature  Kangra Paintings
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Spice Jet Feature Kangra Paintings


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Spicejet inflight magazine, SpiceRoute, featured the work being done by Voice of Himachal in their June 2011 initiative.

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Spice Jet Feature Kangra Paintings

  1. 1. Spice Feature Exquisite artwork Neha BhatNagarPhotos: DiliP Banerjee S heltered by the Dhauladhar hills, Evolving tradition Kangra is home to special miniature the pictorial art of Kangra originated in a small paintings. this Pahari style of paintings hill state of ‘guler’ in the lower himalayas in the which first appeared in guler and then first half of the 18th century when few Kashmiri in Kangra. Once at their peak in the painters versed in Mughal style of painting ar- 18th century, arts of Kangra continued to be a rived and mingled with the local artists. Since rich centre of Pahari culture till late in the 19th Bhakti cult was the driving force in that period, century, after which it declined in its importance the artistes adopted themes of eternal love and went into oblivion. between radha and Krishna unlike the portraits 124 June 2011 www.spiceroutemag.com
  2. 2. The picturesque valley of Kangra attracts one and all. And from its pristine but faded history evolves the tradition of Kangra miniature paintings….of the kings and royalty. this style reachedits zenith during the reign of Maharaja Sansar made paper, preparation of natural colours, sketching and colouring. It is the art of Making of a trueChand Katoch who was a great patronof Kangra art and an aredent devotee of drawing and the drawing is so precise and fluid, lyrical and naturalistic that the faces Kangra miniatureKrishna. however, fall of regimes and lossof patrons pushed the art form to extinction possess almost porcelain-like delicacy. even painting is aand very few hands were left to keep it alive. the brushes are made in a very unique way from the hair of squirrels and bird feathers. journey througha true Kangra miniature painting is a journeyof many stages like preparation of hand- the sentiment of love remained the inspira- tion and the central theme of Pahari painting many stages 125
  3. 3. Spice Feature where Krishna leela predominated the shades. Many themes from legends of classical Indian lit- erature like the Bhagwata Purana, gita govinda and the Bihari Sat Sai of Nala-Damayanti were portrayed in these paintings. another prominent subject of the Kangra paintings was the “Bara- masa” (twelve months), inspired from Kavipriya written by poet Keshavdas who described the effect of seasons round the year on the emo- tions of human beings. Skilfull use of brilliant pigments prepared from mineral and vegetable extracts give an enamel-like lustre and freshness to colours and delicacy in execution. the Kangra painting excels in idealisation of women. the flowing figure of a youthful coy nayika seen in Kangra miniatures is an ideal em- bodiment of youth which is slender, elegant and radiating infinite charm. the free-hand move- ment of sensitive and spontaneous lines painted the landscapes, brooks, springs, trees, birds all floral patterns all very meticulously. Skillful hand Presently, very few painters are practising this pictorial art. Many of them work in obscurity without any means of recognition or hope of sponsorship. Kangra arts Promotion Society (KaPS), is an NgO started by like-minded group of people working to promote and protect the world famous art to restore to its original splendour. “the purpose of KaPS is to ensure that the tradition of Kangra miniature paintings and other arts passes on to the future generations. In order to encourage existing artists and hone new talent, the society started the Chitera School of art to build a treasure of old and new paintings for posterity,” says B K agarwal, president KaPS. the institute functions as training school-cum- workshop-cum sales centre to train budding painters in the tradition of Kangra School of painting in the guru-Shishya parampara and also to provide a centre for the sale of authentic and quality Kangra paintings. Situated at the premises of the Museum of Kangra art at Dharamsala, the institute selects students after assessing their basic skills and aptitude toward this art. “the students are made Themes from classical Indian literature like Gita Govinda were portrayed in these paintingsthe Kangra painting excels in idealisation of women126 June 2011 www.spiceroutemag.com
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  5. 5. Spice Feature Handful of painters making Kangra paintings were unable to make contact with potential buyers, now the artform is somehow reviving awardee, teach at the school and efforts are on to tie up with other schools of art and institu- tions to start a student knowledge exchange programme. KaPS has been working closely with Voice of himachal (VOh), a group of pro- fessionals working for sustainable development in himachal Pradesh, to explore marketing op- portunities for promotion and sale of Kangra art. “ We provide KaPS with management inputs on marketing strategies, marketing plans, volun- tary support to organise exhibits and events, tie-ups with other art galleries etc to reach out to art lovers in general and potential buyers in particular,” says Varun rattan Singh, Founder & CeO, VOh. Plans are afoot to rope in big hotel chains and corporate houses as bulk buyers besides sup- plying the paintings to handicrafts handlooms, Cottage emporium and other such outlets. the Kangra arts Promotion Society and VOh are conducting an arts appreciation Course focusing on the Kangra school of paintings next month, June 23 onwards . the three day cer- tificate course aims to introduce the participants to Kangra miniature art and take them through the evolution of this magnificent art form. “It willskilfull use of brilliant pigments prepared from mineral and vegetable extracts give an enamel-like lustre be a residential course where four master artiststo undergo one-year intensive training under KaPS we are providing recognition and market will interact with candidates and share expertise.the master artists. each member sponsors one to the Kangra miniature paintings within India the overall fee per candidate is ` 5500 percandidate which comes to ` 30,000 per student and abroad. Moreover, our aim is to make the person,” informs Varun.annually. each student is given a monthly scholar- artist get a living from his art which he has failed Some good news for the dying art trickles fromship of `1,500 and free art material,” to do so far. Money should not be blocked at the offshores as an art school in the Middle eastsays agarwal. any level,” he says. has expressed interest in associating with theBeaming culture Isn’t it the revival of an almost extinct art form Chitera school as they traced common threadsWithout any proper opportunity of marketing subject of state’s concern? agarwal’s reply to in the Persian tradition of miniature paintngstheir art, the handful of painters making Kangra this comes that the himachal Pradesh govern- with those of Kangra paintings. “We are in talkspaintings were unable to make contact with ment has been providing moral support to with international art galleries interested inpotential buyers, who in turn did not have a the movement but no direct financial aid. at Oriental art to make Kangra miniature paintingsplace from where they can buy authentic and the most, the state government departments reach out to international art lovers. We alreadyquality miniatures. “When it is revival of some buy paintings for gift purposes and interiors. at have members promoting the art in the US,”product, there is no ready market. through present three master artists, including a national says agarwal.128 June 2011 www.spiceroutemag.com