Dharamsala, May 22
A five-day workshop to preserve the ancient art of frescoes on heritage buildings in Kangra district is underway at Nandpur Guler fort here. Experts from all over India are training fine art students from various colleges in the ancient art of drawing frescoes on the walls of heritage buildings.
Raghav Guleria, owner of Nandpur Guler Fort which is organizing the workshop, said, “Mohrakashi is an indigenous lime fresco tradition in Punjab. It rose to prominence under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 19th century. The development of Mohrakashi during this period gave rise to the Sikh school of art, with murals dominated by floral and foliate motifs 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 the erotic sentiments of Radha and Krishna were prevalent, although the production of such works has gone out of fashion over the past 100 years, he added.
Guleria said it was the first time that a unique workshop showcasing this heritage art form was held at Guler Fort. It is organized under the aegis of Kimberley Moyle, founder of Indi Architecture. Master craftsman Gupreet Singh of Jagraon teaches a small group of enthusiastic participants, who have traveled from all over the country to participate.
Suresh K. Nair, an experienced mural artist from Kerala and a professor at the University of Benares, is one such person who, along with Dhani Ram Kushdil, a respected miniature artist from Kangra, 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 craftsman from Bihar, and Pankaj Trivedi, a documentarian from Mumbai, are also taking part in the workshop.
INTACH Kangra Chapter President LN Agarwal also visited the workshop. He praised the organizers for their enthusiasm in keeping the art form alive, Raghav said.