Reinventing the lost thread between narrative mural paintings and Kalamkari.


Mural paintings and cloth paintings reinforce each other. A cloth painting tranforms the art fixed to a wall into a mobile exhibit. It outlasts the most durable photographic medium, meriting serious consideration as an archival medium.


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Featured above - Left: A picture of a mural from 17th Century CE as it exists in the Siva temple of Tiruppudaimarudur, Ambasamudram Taluk, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. In the walls inside the temple tower of 5 tiers of this temple, there are mural paintings. Among the mural paintings is a series of paintings of Arab / Portuguese traders selling horses to the Pandya king ahead of his war with the invading army of Krishnadevaraya. This mural is from this 'horse-trading' series. Size is: 2' x 6' (w x h). Middle: An actual size print-out of a digital tracing of the mural, outline only. Right: A cloth replica produced by powder-tracing the line drawing and then resist-dyeing it using Kalamkari techniques.
Artists like Ramachandriah stand alienated from what used to be their primary source of content for painting on cloth, namely mural paintings. Mural paintings in the meantime continue to suffer from neglect, poor patchwork restoration and active abuse.

If the present condition of mural paintings is anything to go by, It is evident that their survival of murals is very much in question. We are working on the understanding that one form of conservation - a necessary, even if insufficient form - is to digitally trace the pictures, fill in colurs and missing parts, and replicate them on other media. On Kalamkari cloth for instance.

Shri Ramachandriah collaborates with M.V. Bhaskar, who has been documenting and studying mural paintings in Tamil Nadu for the last 6 years, to bring the two art forms together and produce a body of work, which, it is their hope, may sow the seeds for a neglected, rejected avenue of artistic endeavour to once again become mainstream. More details at http://web.mac.com/mvbhaskar/Naayakaa/Temple_Mural_Paintings.html

Featured below: The cloth replica in a form more perceptible as cloth.
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