Symposium on Punjab murals

I was invited by the Department of Fine Arts, Punjabi University, Patiala, to present a paper on Punjab Murals: A journalist’s perspective. I have been interested in the subject for a while and have had the privilege of documenting the murals of Pothi Mala at GuruHarsahi, in the Ferozepore district of Punjab.
The three day three-day symposium on “Punjab Murals – Themes, Context, Patronage and Techniques’ was inaugurated by Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of the university on October 30. It has been organised under the guidance of the distinguished art historian, Prof B.N. Goswami, who is a Visiting Professor in the university.

Prominent artist and poet Imroz, the creator of the Rock Garden in Chandigarh, Nek Chand and Dr Kanwarjit Singh Kang, who has converted this PhD thesis on the subject into a book and a lifelong passion, were the prominent delegates who were welcomed by Saroj Rani, Head of the department.
Dr Goswami’s brilliant lecture-cum-slide presentation on the wall paintings of Punjab set the tone of the seminar, and as expected, it was a tough act to follow. Dr Mohinder Singh of the Bhai Vir Singh Sadan, Delhi, gave a presentation on the aesthetic aspects of the manuscripts of the Adi Granth.
I could literally feel my mother watching me over my shoulder as I spoke. She had been a Vice Chancellor of the university more than three decades ago and her portrait hung over my shoulder in the room that the seminar’s second session took place.

Since murals are more or less vanishing from Punjab because of decay, ignorance and lack of interest, I suggested that maybe we could consider a Virtual Museum of Murals of Punjab, where photographs of the murals could be put on the Internet and be accessible to all. This would work till an actual Museum of Murals of Punjab, as suggested by Dr Goswami, could come up.
The virtual museum would evoke interest and that would bring on the spotlight on this literally dying art.

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