An authority on Ravi Varma’s art with a deep understanding of his works, Rupika Chawla explains the need for preservation, the ethics of restoration and the delicate nature of conservation of these classic paintings.
Rupika Chawla is well-known art restorer, conservator and historian. She has restored several Ravi Varma paintings at her studio and also gives training in conservation.
Together with artist A. Ramachandran, she had organised the seminal exhibition on Raja Ravi Varma in 1993 at the National Museum, New Delhi, bringing about a strong revival of the artist and his work.
Some of Raja Ravi Varma's works in museums and belonging to private collections.
Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation has restored several paintings by the master artist, all belonging to private collectors. The intention is to document and restore as many works by Ravi Varma as possible. This documentary features some of the most important works that have passed through the Foundation's hands and reached the restoration table of Rupika Chawla.
Dr Anandana Kapur
A Fulbright filmmaker, award-winning director and educationist, Dr. Anandana Kapur directed this documentary to commemorate Raja Ravi Varma’s 173rd birth anniversary on April 29, 2021.
"The iconography and compositions of Ravi Varma's work continue to inspire creative artists. Each of us, among the crew, had a painting we admired. So, it was a pleasure to see original works up close and to be in dialogue about them." - Anandana Kapur
"We were also fortunate to be able to document how an original work is interpreted for restoration. The layers of dust contain many stories within them. Finally, when the underlying work is revealed you are left marvelling at the luminosity of Varma's strokes."
Raja Ravi Varma: Restoring A Master's Glory (2021-04) by Raja Ravi Varma Heritage FoundationRaja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation
"Conservation and documentary making are similar in their instinct to peel back the traces of time to glimpse the essential. Both practices need technical felicity to preserve details and each benefits from making visible the ideological choices that shape access to cultural artefacts."
Special Thanks: Rupika Chawla & Dr. Anandana Kapur
Content & Resources: Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation