IIC presents ‘Lost Ancient Art Revealed’ exhibition

IIC presents ‘Lost Ancient Art Revealed’ exhibition

India International Centre is set to organise ‘Lost Ancient Art Revealed’, an exhibition of digitally restored photographs of Ajanta caves by Professor Benoy K Behl.

The earliest Buddhist paintings of the world are from the 2nd century BCE. Shrouded in the darkness of the Ajanta caves, these didn’t get the attention of the world, despite their very sophisticated quality. They could hardly be seen owing to much early 20th century graffiti on them.

This exhibition throws a magical light which shows these paintings for the first time, through Professor Behl’s photography in darkness and subsequent removal of graffiti by painstaking digital restoration.

India has a truly great tradition of ancient painting which hasn’t been known to the world. This is because the remnants of ancient paintings are in the dark interiors of caves and temples and are extremely damaged. Professor Behl had the privilege of photographing this ancient treasure of art with his pioneering technique of low-light photography, between 25 and 30 years ago. In 1991, the then Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India wrote to Behl, saying, “You have conquered the darkness!”

After his photography, there has been considerable further deterioration and many of the ancient paintings have been lost to the world. As a labour of love, Professor Behl has digitally restored much of the damage to the masterpiece paintings. They can now be seen nearer to their original glory.

Benoy K Behl is the leading art historian of ancient Indian murals, whose landmark book ‘The Ajanta Caves’ has spread the knowledge of this art worldwide. He carried out the digital restoration with painstaking care and with a deep understanding of ancient murals.

The exhibition will be on view from today until January 19, 2024, from 11 am to 7 pm daily. Also, a gallery walkthrough will be conducted by Professor Behl from January 7 and January 13 at 4 pm.

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