As regular readers know, Jenny and I hunted down a former Bollywood poster painter near Old Delhi, commissioned him to paint what we humbly consider the world’s most amazing painting, and more or less made both ourselves and Vijay Singh, the artist, marginally famous. (In fact, I was just Googling to support that statement, and I came up with an article written about him four days ago! There’s also this radio interview.)
But even as NPR reports that major corporations are horking Vijay’s Bollywood aesthetic, it’s important to bear in mind that while one Bollywood artist may be experience a resurgence, many more have faded into the wake of multiplex cinemas and digitally-printed movie posters. And now we learn that it’s not just in India — in Pakistan, too, the art form is dying.
Royal Park, a place in Lahore still known for the film business, used to have many workshops where seasoned commercial artists like S Rahi, M Younas, J Arfi, Sarwar and others worked and taught students, Mani explains. “There were a number of cinemas around the area of Royal Park. Some of them have turned into commercial theatres and others into parking lots or restaurants. 12 years ago, around 100 established artists were working on film hoardings and they had many students too but you can hardly find any such artists now,” he said.
A sad situation. Perhaps some bloggers in Lahore can track down one of these artists, commission a painting, and start a parallel resurgence?