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Prehistoric Art Exhibition at Panjab University to Showcases the Oldest Artform – Karabi Art
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Prehistoric Art Exhibition at Panjab University to Showcases the Oldest Artform

Prehistoric Art Exhibition at Panjab University to Showcases the Oldest Artform

Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology in Panjab University is all set to launch an exhibit on pre-historic rock art which will continue for a month from the 10th of August.

The exhibition is being organized as a collaborative effort between the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi and the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology, Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh.

The focus of the exhibition titled “The World of Rock Art” is showcasing pre-historic rock art and the exhibition is scheduled to continue till the 10th of September. IGNCA’s nationwide project on rock art gives the top priority to creating general awareness about the first form of creative art for the humankind especially among the students at all levels from schools, colleges, to the university levels.

A universal art form, rock art is considered to be the mother and origin of all forms of art. Dr. B L Malla the project director at IGNCA says that the early man began inscribing records of the world around him, the activities they undertook for their own sustenance and for the proliferation of future generations. The men of these times lived in habitats like natural caves and shelters, which they then decorated with paintings and engravings that would depict the natural elements and life around them. It is through these examples of pre-historic art that we today get to know of the underlying philosophies and worldviews of the people in those times and about the essence of the society through the ideas, faith, and expression depicted in them. The scholars have estimated that the mature records can in fact be traced back to as far back as almost 40,000 years from today.

Considered as one of the greatest surviving treasures of the ancient times, rock art was practiced and developed by people who lived in the tribal of dense forest areas on the rock shelters or caves where they dwelt. The subject for most of these paintings were the animals that they used to hunt and sometimes the cultural celebrations or community dance activities were also depicted in there. Almost every activity or idea that the man of those times indulged in or practiced were represented quite clearly in these paintings that found place in the caves or on the rocks.

Natural materials like plants and iron were used in these paintings to impart green and red colors respectively says head of the department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Dr. Parul Bal Sindhu.

Adi Drishya (pri-meval vision of man, a program patronized by IGNCA has initiated a documentation on the field and sites with the intent to preserve not only the rock art sites but record data too.

Rock art is an emerging and nascent field in India and the country has a lot of catching up to do to be able to come at par with other countries who have highly advanced and varied techniques for the same.

According to Malla the rock art is indigenous to its region and styles and techniques vary geographically. In European art forms the focus is more on animals and anthropology. In India, however the art styles and subject varied from region to region. For example east Orissa had carvings & paintings, north and coastal areas had engravings, and the central India had typical paintings. In totality the Indian rock art was largely inspired by the social scenes and themes.

IGNCA through its outreach program would be organizing a number of programs like orientation workshops for both researchers and university students for skill development and capacity building.

While talking about the exhibition the world of rock art he further says that it showcases thematic universality of the said art form. He also says that both tangible and non-tangible aspects of heritage are associated to this art form. The show/exhibition was formally inaugurated on the 10th of August.

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