The Women’s International Club (WIC) provides a unique platform for women living in Delhi to experience various cultures of the world. Its members are a mix of Indian and international women from different backgrounds. The club organizes various activities every month related to books, food, travel, culture, and health, among others. I recently attended a talk on art restoration by the talented restorer Priya Khanna.
With the talented Priya Khanna
WHAT IS ART RESTORATION?
With the passage of time, even the best preserved works of art are prone to damage. As air molecules expand and extract, they affect the original painting and its canvas. Different materials or types of paints are affected in different ways. Due to a general lack of knowledge or interest, art works are often kept in terrible conditions. They’re rolled up and stored under beds, stuck on walls with glue, or displayed in places where moisture, termites and fungus are bound to attack them. In some bizarre cases, works by famous artists have been cut in to pieces, to be sold as separate works!
Art restoration is a meticulous skill that requires knowledge of various educational disciplines like science, art, and history. Restoration of an art work, to a strong likeness of its original, considerably raises its value in the art market; and significantly increases its lifespan.
Picture courtesy: www.thestar.com.my
PRIYA KHANNA AND HER ART LIFE RESTORATION STUDIO:
Priya Khanna is one of the leading art restorers of India, having been in the business since 1989. She has a Masters degree in ‘Conservation of Works of Art’ and is a Gold Medalist from the National Museum Institute New Delhi (read my post on this museum here). She has many landmark projects to her credit, including the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers Hotel in Mumbai which was destroyed during a terrorist attack; the collections of various erstwhile royal families of India; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (read my post on this museum here); and art auction houses like Christie’s.
She operates out of her studio in Defence Colony, New Delhi, with her competent team of restorers. When I visited, century-old life-size paintings were being worked on, along with various other media that require painstaking effort and detail. We received a tour of the studio, along with a power-point presentation about the range of restoration work Priya has done in her career.
Priya Khanna’s team of restorers at work in her studio in Defence Colony, New Delhi
HOW TO PRESERVE ART WORKS AT HOME:
Priya also gave easy tips on preserving art work at home, and saving it from any potential damage. I’ll list some here:
- Don’t roll the paintings, but if you must then ensure they’re rolled in a larger pipe
- Don’t store the paintings under the bed or in a store room as that attracts fungus
- Store the paintings in a temperature controlled environment, with good ventilation
- Avoid placing your paintings directly beneath an AC vent or where the flow of the AC is directed
- Chloroplast boards and acid-free mounts will prolong the life of your paintings. The boards act as a barrier between the canvas and the wall to stop deterioration, while the mounts ensure larger paintings stay in their position and don’t fall
- Never write with a pen or marker behind the canvas as the ink can eventually seep into the front side
Scenes from Priya Khanna’s Art Life Restoration Studio
HOW TO IDENTIFY FAKES FROM ORIGINALS:
The meteoric boom in the art industry led to an astonishing number of fakes in the market. As technology improves, so does the quality of fake art works. The most conclusive way of determining a fake is by examining it under a UV or infrared light. One who has knowledge of art or the painter can detect fakes by comparing the painting in question, with other works by the artist.
I’m so glad I attended this talk and learnt about a subject I had no knowledge of. I highly recommend consulting Priya Khanna if you own any art work precious to you.
Check out my video attached here for live inputs from the talk and tour of her studio.
Examples of restoration work done by Priya Khanna
*This is not a sponsored post. I attended this talk with other members of my club, was impressed with what I heard and want to spread the knowledge.
**Featured image courtesy: www.blog.artsome.co
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