Padmashree Shree Lal Joshi - Phad Paintings

Till a decade ago, phad had almost completely died out. Its revival is credited to veteran artist and Padmashree awardee Shree Lal Joshi. The demand for phad paintings grew tremendously in the fifties and sixties both in India and abroad. During this period, many phad artists commercialised their art to such an extent that the quality of their artwork deteriorated. Joshi steadfastly stayed away from it all, making a few phads, but with keen attention to quality and detail. Later, when the poor quality of phads caused a catastrophic loss of market, Joshi set up a school to teach the art of making phads to deserving students.

Joshi believed that to ensure the continuity of this 700 year old craft, there is a need to teach it to as many people as possible. This was against tradition, since for centuries, the practice was to jealously guard the secrets of phad painting. As his students brought new ideas, Joshi was inspired to innovate on the phad without compromising on quality. While the traditional phad is seven feet long and depicts an entire story, Joshi created small phads depicting scenes or nuances from it making it convenient for tourists to carry home and adorn their living room walls.

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