Images reincarnated in ruins

He may have left his dusty hometown of Bhiwani in Haryana decades ago, but there is something in the city that refuses to part with him.

The many great Havelis there, slowly consumed by time and the almost magical murals executed since the 18th century, have over the years become an integral part of artist Ram Partap Verma, rushing him to write a book and to make a documentary film about them. .

To highlight the rapidly vanishing legacy rarely taken into account by authorities and art historians, the artist recently released her book and documentary film ‘Wall Paintings: The Vanishing Treasure’.

Emphasizing that his four-decade journey as an artist was rooted in this city, he said: “For years I have worked on these projects without any subsidy or sponsorship. Frankly, most of the paintings you see in the book cease to exist now. as several Havelis were demolished to make way for modern houses, unfortunately some of them, with pigments on the still intact murals that still exist, are in a pitiful state due to the lack of interest shown by the owners and the state. ”

Talk to him about the fact that in Europe not only the government, but also the people understand the importance of heritage in their localities and communities, and are doing what is necessary, and the artist says: ‘Well, this is not is hardly the case in this country otherwise we wouldn’t see couples writing their names on monuments across cities, right? ”

For someone who developed a fascination with the arts during infancy – seeing his mother paint pictures related to snake worship and Shakti on the walls of their house, he says the film and the book are his homage to the hometown that sowed the seeds of art deep within him.

“One can easily see the influences of different cultures and periods on the murals. Honestly, it is difficult to trace the evidence of an art school in this region.”

Elaborating on his research for the book and the film, he says it was not easy to find the material or the recordings of the painters. “It meant long trips around the country and access to different libraries, not to mention the elaborate interviews with locals and owners who could be traced,” says Verma.

“It is interesting to note that many of the painters who made the murals of Hindu mythologies were Muslims. It speaks of the composite culture that existed centuries ago,” he adds. Deciphering these paintings on the walls of Havelis where primary colors like ocher, indigo and green have been used as secondary, the artist says: “All I hope is that the murals remaining are preserved by artistic foundations and the government. “

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