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Training camp on Kangra art for the differently-abled in Dharamshala
by Akhilesh Bharati

     Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh): Twenty-five specially-abled children have been given training in ancient Kangra Art during a vocational training camp here. Organised under the 'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan' or, Education for all scheme by the Central Government, the camp was meant to motivate and equip enthusiastic children with knowledge of art through special training. "This is organised under the 'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan' (Education for all). It is a 10-day long vocational training. Our aim is to inculcate the knowledge of art among the physically, mentally disadvantaged. We also have children who have orthopaedic problems and hearing impairment," Dharmender Kanwar, programme coordinator said. Kanwar said that through such activities the children were imparted knowledge of Kangra Art and were given a positive vision to the differently-able children besides promoting the art form among them. It was felt that the differently-abled children, despite their physical disablilities, could express their innermost feelings through paintings. A painting exhibition to encourage these children is also on the anvil. The ten-day long camp (July 4 to 13) witnessed participation of teenagers between 12 to 17 years. "After making these paintings I will sell it, it will help me economically," said Fatima, one of the participants on the last day of training camp. Kangra art originated in a small hill state 'Guler' in the Lower Himalayas in the first half of the 18th century when a family of Kashmiri painters trained in Mughal painting style sought shelter at the court of Raja Dalip Singh (1695-1741) of Guler. The rise of Guler Paintings started in what is known as the "Early phase of Kangra Kalam." The new arrivals mingled with the local artists and were greatly influenced by the atmosphere of the hills. Instead of painting flattering portraits of their masters and love scenes, the artistes adopted themes of eternal love between Radha and Krishna. The paintings were naturalistic and employed cool, fresh colors. The colors were extracted from minerals, vegetables and possessed enamel-like luster. Verdant greenery of the landscape, brooks, springs were the recurrent images on the miniatures. One of the striking features of the ancient Kangra paintings is the verdant greenery it depicts. The style is naturalistic, and great attention is paid to detail. The foliage depicted is vast and varied. This is made noticeable by using multiple shades of green. The Kangra paintings feature flowering plants and creepers, leafless trees, rivulets and brooks. Kangra paintings depict the feminine charm in a very graceful manner.
-July 14, 2009

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