Monday, August 10, 2009

Indian Art lost forever

Just back after a weekend trip to Mysore. It was a good change and I am well rested and relaxed now. (not realy!!)

This time, apart from the numerous relatives’ houses, Hubs took me to
Jaganmohan Art Gallery. This was initially a palace which has been converted to house all the ancient art of India. The first few exhibits were not very impressive and I had Hubs already cribbing about the Rs.20/head ticket being all wasted.

However, once we went up to the first floor, our opinions changed drastically. The murals, the various pieces of art by Raja Ravi Verma, Haldenkar and others were all a feast for the eyes. My personal favourite is the ‘Glow of Hope’ by Haldenkar. The dark room with a light bulb set up for the painting well-complimented the beautiful piece of a lady holding a lamp. Ah! I was floored!!!

Some others which I liked were the painting of the lighting in the Mysore palace, the painting of an orchestra by Ravi Verma, the various wooden carvings, the musical instruments used by the Raja and the marble miniature of the Mysore palace. The gallery also had exhibits made of glass. Each one looked better than the other. At the paintings section, one of the attendants mentioned to us that on all the paintings by Ravi Verma, from wherever you look at the feet of the people in the painting, the toes always seem to be pointing towards you. Now, isn’t that really really impressive??

We left the gallery wondering if we have really progressed in all these years? Or should we call this regression? How many artists do we find today who can make paintings or carvings like those?

A fortnight back, we were trying to get a simple wooden almirah made for our kitchen. It was a plain almirah with glass doors for the top shelf and wooden doors for the bottom shelf we were looking for. The carpenter claimed he can make it in 1 day. It is 15 days since, and we are yet struggling to get it done. Not to mention the number of mistakes he has already committed in terms of measurement and design.

Compare this against any piece we saw at the gallery and there is no debate. Thanks to our fast forwarded lives today, we have lost the art all together. We neither have artists like we used to, nor connoisseurs to encourage them.

What is more, we cannot even be assured that our heritage will be preserved until our next generations can see. For, despite all the attendants keeping a watch on the visitors, people have yet managed to scribble names, drawings and what-not on the walls of the palace, probably trying to make themselves memorable.

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