One of the 16 restored panels of Sadequain’s mural ‘Evolution of mankind’ as well as an un-restored panel will be displayed for public on March 1 at Lahore Museum.
The ceiling of the museum’s central gallery had been decorated with a mural painted by the legendary artist in the 1970s. This work of art is renowned worldwide and comprised 48 panels.
Owing to the vagaries of weather and termite attack, the mural had suffered great damage. In 2008, a grant was approved by the Punjab governor in order to initiate restoration work on the mural.
Artists Uzma Usmani from the museum and Mumtaz Hussain from private sector were later sent to the Indian National Trust for Art and Heritage in New Delhi for basic training in oil painting conservation for three months.
Later, the artists managed to restore 16 panels within three years, while the restoration process was under way on the remaining panels.
Uzma Usmani told Dawn that out of 48 panels 16 had been restored. “Restoration of the mural is a long, slow and delicate process. It has to be done with a lot of care that is why rest of the panels might take six to seven years to get restored.”
Lahore Museum Director Humayun Mazar Sheikh said one of the 16 restored panels and one un-restored would be put on display at the museum on March 1 for public awareness on the restoration work.
Additional Director Naushaba Anjum said the mural could not be fixed back to the ceiling of the central gallery because its panels had become heavy owing to the restoration process.
“We would have to look for a special corner in the museum to display this mural after the restoration.”
The Lahore Museum is also holding a pictorial exhibition on March 8 in connection with International Women’s Day. The exhibition will feature photographs from before the Partition as well as recent times.
Originally published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018