WHC meeting: Project launched by culture ministry to reflect India's heritage, UNESCO sites

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New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) Ahead of the 46th session of the World Heritage Committee here, the government has drawn up a public art project on India's cultural legacy and the country's UNESCO heritage sites, among others.

"Project PARI (Public Art of India)", an initiative of the Union Ministry of Culture being executed by the Lalit Kala Akademi and the National Gallery of Modern Art, "seeks to bring forth public art that draws inspiration from millennia of artistic heritage (lok kala/lok sanskriti) while incorporating modern themes and techniques", the ministry said in a statement.

The project was officially launched on Friday, a senior official said.

The 46th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) is scheduled to be held in New Delhi between July 21-31 July, it said.

The WHC decides on inscription of new sites into the UNESCO World Heritage List. India will be hosting the meeting for the first time.

"More than 150 visual artists from all over the country have come together to create various wall paintings, murals, sculptures and installations under this project," the Ministry of Culture said.

In sync with the proposed 46th WHC meeting some of the artworks and sculptures will draw inspiration from world heritage sites such as Bimbetka and the natural world heritage sites in India and accord them a special place in the proposed artworks, officials said.

The number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India grew to 42 with the 'Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala' finding a place in the coveted list last September, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had said.

These sites include 34 in the cultural category, seven in the natural category and one mixed property.

They include Red Fort, Humayun Tomb, Qutab Minar in Delhi; Taj Mahal in Agra; ancient Nalanda university ruins and the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar; Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas in Karnataka and Santiniketan in West Bengal.

Currently, India has the sixth largest number of (UNESCO) sites in the world. The countries that have 42 or more world heritage sites are Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France, the ASI had earlier said in a statement.

Under "Project PARI" that also seeks to decorate Delhi ahead of the key meeting, artworks inspired by and drawn in styles of various Indian fine arts forms will be included.

These will include Phad paintings (Rajasthan), Thangka painting (Sikkim/Ladakh), miniature painting (Himachal Pradesh), Gond art (Madhya Pradesh), Tanjore paintings (Tamil Nadu), Kalamkari (Andhra Pradesh), Alpona art (West Bengal) and Cheriyal painting (Telangana), the statement issued by the ministry.

Other art forms will include Pichhwai Painting (Rajasthan), Lanjia Saura (Odisha), Pattachitra (West Bengal), Bani Thani Painting (Rajasthan), Warli (Maharashtra), Pithora Art (Gujarat), Aipan (Uttarakhand), Kerala Murals (Kerala), Alpana art (Tripura) and more.

The themes for proposed sculptures to be created under "Project PARI" include wide ranging ideas such as paying tribute to nature, ideas inspired by the Natyashastra, Mahatma Gandhi, toys of India, hospitality, ancient knowledge, Naad or primeval sound, harmony of life, Kalpataru the divine tree, it said.

Women artists will be an integral part of 'Project PARI' and their participation in large numbers is a "testimony to Bharat's Nari Shakti".

People can join the celebrations. By clicking selfies with a "Project PARI" creation and share those pictures on social media with #ProjectPARI, the statement said.

"India has long been a vibrant centre of artistic expression, with its rich history of public art reflecting the country's cultural and spiritual diversity. From ancient rock-cut temples and intricate frescoes to grand public sculptures and vibrant street art, Bharat's landscapes have always been adorned with artistic marvels," it said.

Historically, art has been deeply intertwined with daily life, religious practices, and social customs, manifesting through various modalities such as dance, music, theatre and visual arts, the statement said.

The representation of art in public spaces is particularly significant, reflecting the nation's rich and diverse cultural heritage. The democratisation of art through public installations transforms urban landscapes into accessible galleries, where art transcends the confines of traditional venues such as museums and galleries, it said.

"By integrating art into streets, parks, and transit hubs, these initiatives ensure that artistic experiences are available to one and all. This inclusive approach fosters a shared cultural identity and enhances social cohesion, inviting citizens to engage with art in their daily lives," it added.

"Project PARI" aims at stimulating dialogue, reflection, and inspiration, contributing to the dynamic cultural fabric of the nation, the statement said. PTI KND -- ANB ANB

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