K. C. Aryan

K. C. Aryan (1919-2002) was a painter, sculptor, art historian and a pioneer-collector of folk and tribal art objects; and founder of the Museum of Folk and Tribal Art, better known as K.C. Aryan's Home of Folk Art, founded in 1984 in Gurgaon.

Quotes about K. C. Aryan and about the Museum of Folk and Tribal ArtEdit

  • K.C. Aryan (born 11 August 1919, died 2002), a Partition refugee from West Panjab, was an accomplished painter. He founded the Museum for Tribal and Folk Art in Gurgaon, still functioning today. He saved plenty of old paintings, sculptures and other arts & crafts objects for posterity by collecting them in his museum or donating them to more established institutions. In 1970, he presented to the publishing unit of Punjabi University Patiala a manuscript with illustrations for a book, 100 Years Survey of Panjab Painting (1841-1941). It was eventually published by the PUP in 1975, but only in mutilated form. The Senate Board of the University objected to the inclusion of one particular painting, and threatened that if it were published, the grant for the whole publishing unit would be stopped. The contentious painting, executed by a Pahari painter in the mid-19th century (whose name, as often in folk art, remains unknown), shows a topi-wearing Guru Nanak praying to Lord Vishnu. The Board took the Sikh-separatist line that that Sikhism has nothing to do with Hinduism, and that the Gurus are above the “Brahminical” gods. It is the same line that keeps the Sikh establishment from calling their central shrine, the Hari Mandir (“Vishnu temple”), by its proper name, hiding it behind the superficial designation “Golden Temple” or the Moghul term “Darbar Sahib”. It is also why in 1922 they threw out from the Hari Mandir the murti-s that had been worshipped there ever since Arjan Dev inaugurated it in 1604. Sikh identity as a separate religion, rather than as one of the many panth-s in the Hindu commonwealth, is based on a denial of history, and this requires a constant censoring of unwilling historical data: names changed, scriptures doctored, murti-s thrown away, the publication of a painting suppressed.

From the Personal Collection of KC Aryan. Unknown Masterpieces of Indian Folk & Tribal ArtEdit

From the Personal Collection of KC Aryan. Unknown Masterpieces of Indian Folk & Tribal Art (KC Aryan’s Home of Folk Art, Gurgaon 2016, 301 pp., 635 illustrations).
  • KC Aryan is singularly equipped in writing on them [folk bronzes], having lived, seen and collected many of the images on the spot and being a practising artist.
  • “Greater preference is accorded to sculptures and paintings created by artists attached to the royal courts over the centuries. Artefacts from rural and tribal India were outrightly dismissed as everyday objects, completely unfit for display in a museum. No one, with the sole exception of K.C. Aryan, realised that the illiterate and unknown craftsmen living and working in the countryside had nurtured our artistic and cultural heritage since hoary antiquity, and preserved it from getting lost for good.”
    • Dr. Subhasini Aryan, chairman of the Museum of Folk and Tribal Art
  • “This long neglect and wanton destruction of our folk and tribal heritage has been compounded by the unsavoury process of pseudo-intellectual distinction between ‘arts’ and ‘crafts’, or ‘fine arts’ and ‘decorative arts’. This led to a profound loss of repositories of rich ethnographic material bearing centuries-old expression and symbolism.”
    • BN Aryan, (p.293). Afterword
  • [It is] “a most deserving tribute to the unnumbered anonymous artists and artisans of our soil through the centuries. In it are manifest the creative genius and artistic expression of countless unknown potters, weavers, embroiderers, painters, sculptors and other craftspersons of this country ‘whose names and identities have been lost in the mists of time’ and whose artistry is comparable to, if not excelling, the best of its kind found anywhere in the history of human civilization.”
    • BN Aryan (p.297)

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: