First 700 Years of the World’s Buddhist Paintings to be revealed at Expo 2020 in Dubai by Art Historian Benoy K Behl

The tradition of Buddhist paintings of South Asia is not yet known as the finest body of sophisticated paintings in the world, as these have never been presented to the world as a body of art.

India Pavilion at ( Expo 2020, Dubai, seeks to change that through an event featuring works of pioneering art historian Benoy K Behl. Through a revelation event planned on the 8th of December 2021, dignitaries from the world shall be introduced to these best kept secrets.

The event shall be held physically at the Pavilion and shall have virtual attendance from selected dignitaries.

The earliest Buddhist paintings of the world are of the 2nd century BCE and are in the Ajanta Caves of India. These did not get the attention of the world, despite their very sophisticated quality, because they could hardly be seen owing to much early 20th century graffiti on them. Benoy K Behl has thrown a magical light which shows these paintings for the first time, by removing the graffiti through painstaking digital restoration.

The greatest blossoming of Buddhist paintings was said to be in the 5th century CE in India and Sri Lanka. Behl has documented and carefully digitally repaired masterpieces of world art in the Buddhist caves of Ajanta, Pitalkhora and Bagh. This tradition also spread to nearby Sri Lanka and Behl has documented the masterly paintings in the Sigiriya Cave of the 5th cent. in Sri Lanka.

Through his pioneering work as art historian and photographer, Benoy K Behl has created the world’s first presentation of the earliest Buddhist paintings, that shall help transform the significance of these works in the world of art and culture, as for the first time ever, the world shall get to see the first 700 years of Buddhist paintings.

“The earliest surviving Buddhist paintings display the most sophisticated style of painting seen anywhere in the world in that period. They also reflect a vision of life which is full of compassion and grace, which makes this among the finest art of humankind,” says Behl about the significance of these paintings.

Behl has been the only person who has photographed this invaluable art, in its true and accurate colours and detail. He has also painstakingly and very carefully restored some of the damage of the centuries on these great paintings.

The presentation shall be done by the ( Heritage Restoration Division of the government advisory firm Sapio Analytics, responsible for driving an artificially intelligent government support system, in growing countries particularly India.

“Sapio Heritage is proud to be appointed the presenter and custodian of ancient Indian culture, for the world. This is the first time that these earliest Buddhist paintings are being presented anywhere in the world. This presentation is a landmark as it presents the beginning of the world’s Buddhist paintings. Here we are shown the roots in India of the great Buddhist art of the world. World-famous art historian Benoy K Behl beautifully speaks about the spirit of compassion which underlies this art,” says Ashwin Srivastava, Group CEO of Sapio Analytics.

Sapio and Behl’s path breaking efforts to restore, digitize and preserve India’s ancient art and culture have not gone unnoticed. Many government leaders such as honourable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Suresh Prabhu have come forward to express their support for their work which includes preservation in the Arctic World Archive. The Arctic World Archive or AWA on the remote island of Svalbard is a secure data vault that aims to preserve digital memories for centuries to come.

The first Indian deposit was created on October 21st 2020 while the second deposit was on September 23rd 2021. In light of this statement, India is the only country in the world with two deposits at the AWA. This has essentially placed India on the global cultural map as a superpower. (Courtesy ANI)