Pahari Miniature Painter Excels

Ajay Parashar

Deputy Director, Information and Public Relation

Padmashree Vijay Sharma is truly recognised as harbinger of Pahari miniature paintings as he has played a pioneering role in reviving the traditions of this form of painting not only in Himachal but across the world. He is widely acknowledged as a gifted miniaturist and as an art historian. Apart from being an accomplished painter he is also a teacher. He has trained many young artists in this form of art. Born on September 12, 1962 in Chamba, Vijay Sharma learnt the art of painting from Mirza Ashgar Beg, a renowned teacher. He earned the degree of post graduation in history from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. Later he came in contact with the traditional miniaturists in Varanasi and Rajasthan. But, Dr. Vishwa Chander Ohri, a senior scholar, renowned art historian and founding curator of the Himachal State Museum at Shimla proved to be his true mentor.  He founded the Shilpa Parishad in Chamba to promote the arts and artists of the state and spearheads this NGO as its president. He was nominated by the government as a member of the governing body of the Himachal Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. He is also a member of the Programme Executive Committee of the North Zone Centre, Patiala and several other councils and NGOs.

Specialty in Paintings

He paints in various styles of Indian miniature painting; however, Basholi and Kangra School of painting is his specialty. Apart of his artistic skill, Vijay is also an art critic and historian, researcher, editor and a writer. He has written many books on Pahari miniature paintings and other arts of Himachal. He is one of the few scholars who could read the Sharda and Tankari scripts. He has deciphered and published many important historical documents. A close friend of Gulzar, a renowned litterateur, Vijay has made paintings on his poems. Gulzar has dedicated one wall of his home for Vijay’s paintings.

Awards

* The State Award for his Ragmala paintings

* National Award for Master Craftsman in Basholi Paintings in 1990 from the Ministry of Textiles

* The AIFACS Award by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts in 1997

* The National Award in 2011 for his composition on Meghdutam by the Government of M.P.

* Padamshree Award by the Government of India in 2012

Folk Flavour at Kangra Summer Festival

Himachal This Week

The three-day state-level Kangra Valley Summer Festival concluded at the Police Ground, Dharamsala. Earlier, Agriculture Minister Sujan Singh Pathania inaugurated the festival by lighting the lamp. He visited the exhibitions put up by different departments. The summer festival started with the melodious voice of Punjabi folk singer Master Saleem who entertained a large crowd with his popular songs. He performed his hit songs like Kade taan has bol, Damadam mast kalandar, Ahun ahun, Bari barsi and Maa Da Ladla bigad gya and other super hit tracks. Anuj Sharma of Indian Idol fame, who was also the attraction of the first day of Summer Festival, enthralled the audience with traditional Pahari songs. The festival opened with a Himachali programme. Attired in traditional costumes, folk artistes from across the state presented colourful dances.

The second day of the festival was totally dedicated to folk music of Himachal. The main attractions of the second cultural night were Thakur Dass Rathi and Geeta Bhardwaj. A troupe of the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, presented traditional folk dances of various Indian states. Apart from this, various artistes performed their dances from all the 12 districts of the state.

Himachal Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma was chief guest on the concluding night of the festival in which Bollywood playback singer Mamta Sharma and Pahari singer Kuldeep Sharma were main attractions. Kuldeep Sharma presented his famous songs on the concluding night of the festival included Rohru jana meri aamiye, ban than chali dekho and others while Mamta Sharma presented munni badnaam and other Bollywood songs.

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