Surpur miniatures on display at Kala Dhaara expo

This unique art form has been revived after almost a century by artist Vijay Hagargundgi

The work of Vijay Hagargundgi, an artist who reinvigorated a unique painting style, the Surpur miniature, is on display at Kala Dhaara, an expo of contemporary art, at the Prathima Gallery here.

There was also a talk titled ‘Surapura Vijaya — miniatures of Vijay Hagargundgi’ by R.G. Singh, secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, as part of Kala Dhaara here on Sunday.

Kala Dhaaraa, which began in February, will conclude on May 4. Every fortnight, the artwork of 15 new artists will be added to the existing repertoire at the 75-day event. Mr. Hagargundgi was among the 15 artists whose works were added last Sunday.

‘Surpur miniature’ is a unique style of painting that has its provenance in Surpur, a small town about 109 km from Gulbarga. Surpur still has splendid mansions (though in ruins), and many maths and temples. It is on the walls of these ruins that Surpur murals are found.

These murals captured Mr. Hagargundgi’s imagination, compelling him to reinvigorate the once-popular art form patronised by the chieftains of Surpur, businessmen and monasteries, according to a press release here.

For lack of a teacher

For almost a century, there were no artists specialising in this style, which meant no one was teaching it. Since each art form has a unique creation process, in the absence of teachers artists must try to replicate existing artwork using modern methods and techniques, the release said.

Surpur miniatures are characterised by static figures. After decades of practice, Mr. Hagargundgi has added dynamism to this art form and evolved his own signature style, characterised by lyrical patterns of colour, flowing lines and delicate gesso. His line drawings are equally attractive, the foundation has said.

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