HYDERABAD: One could easily miss the modest stall from Karnataka at the ongoing Sourcing Show in the Nizam College Grounds if one does not care to cast a second glance. And the second glance is sure to draw attention towards the replicas of Ajanta paintings put on display. Painted in rich Batik colours on cloth, the paintings are near perfect and replicate even the chipped and faded areas of the famed cave paintings. What makes them even more special is the fact that they are in the city for the first time.
Yusufali K. Khalasi, the creator of the paintings from Dharwad, sources his skills to his mentor, D.H.Kulkarni, who received the National Award in 2002. Having spent time in the Ajanta caves as caretaker after he retired as PWD Engineer at Delhi, Mr.Kulkarni had taken pains to click snaps of the paintings and replicate them in Batik on cloth.
Incidentally, the only living evidence of the now-ruined Badami cave paintings of Karnataka is the huge single-panel replica created by the artist. After receiving the National Award, the master craftsman was entrusted with about ten disciples under ‘Guru Shishya Tradition’ of Ministry of Textiles, of whom Mr Yusufali was one. He still draws on the trace papers and photographs used by his mentor. Granted a loan of Rs.25,000 towards material by the Ministry, Mr Yusufali says he uses only Bombay Dyeing cloth for painting. “So far, I have made about 3,000 Batik paintings on cloth, which include modern, miniature and realistic art apart from Ajanta work,” he says. He is accompanied by two other disciples V.Krishna Murthy and Dodmani Yohan. Priced from Rs.500 to Rs.35,000, the panels are washable and allow the choice of framing. Also on display are lamp shades painted in Batik.