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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Art Keepers

Till about a decade ago,if someone visited the interiors of Punjab during festive months,he or she would smell fresh paint on mud walls,where artistic motifs have just been painted in order to depict festivities.

Written by ShevetaBhatia | Published: October 25, 2011 2:55:08 am

Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi brings together art lovers to showcase and preserve the state’s folk tradition

Till about a decade ago,if someone visited the interiors of Punjab during festive months,he or she would smell fresh paint on mud walls,where artistic motifs have just been painted in order to depict festivities. “Village women would paint peacocks,pots and hand imprints on the walls,giving an artistic feel to their places. But not any more; all this has become a rarity,” rues Prof Rajpal Singh,advisor to Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi.

The fast vanishing folk art inspired Singh to bring together art collectors from across the region to put up a show in order to give a peep into “those days of Punjab when a spinning wheel was part of every household,when women would embroider phulkari patterns and when every child knew the steps of bhangra”.

“This part of Punjab is on the verge of extinction and so,we at the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi,have decided to preserve and document it for the future generations,” says Singh,coordinator of a series of such shows; the first one was held at Government College,Ludhiana,on October 21 and 22. “We have collaborated with artisans and keepers of art from across the region. They are providing us with some original pieces of Punjabi folk art,which are now hard to find,” says Singh,adding that their endeavour is to make college students,art organisations,rural clubs and individuals aware of Punjab’s archival collection and motivate them to take responsibility for preserving it. Inspired by the Victoria and Albert Museum,England,Singh wants to recreate a model village that will give a feel of “the real Punjab”.

“It took us an year to collect these works,” says Singh,pointing at objects such as cart-wheels with brass carvings,ornaments such as hansali,karda,ponchi,singhar-patti and gulub,and utensils made from basketry.

Also on display were hand fans,called pakkhe,and useful household contrivance called chhaj . “The idea is to showcase the excellence of those people who created art for utility,” adds artist RN Singh,co-coordinator of the event.

Over the years,traditional games of Punjab have also lost out to modern toys — be it kite-flying or dangals (wrestling bouts). “So,we have also brought in the best of artistically made,hand-painted kites. Then there are fabrics with phulkari,bagh and chope works,” adds Rajpal Singh,who now wants to document these artworks in the form of a book and later as a film.

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