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An Uphill Task

In his monograph on Manaku, art historian BN Goswamy reconstructs the life and art of the 18th-century Pahari painter When BN Goswamy introduced us to the complete portfolio of Nainsukh in 1997, the miniature painter from the hills of Punjab was a relatively little-known entity in the contemporary art world. Goswamy’s discerning biographical sketch not only brought him recognition, but also became a handbook for Nainsukh’s work. Two decades later, the art historian has dedicated a publication to Nainsukh’s elder brother, Manaku. Like his sibling, Manaku, too, was a master practitioner, who painted evocative miniatures and carried forward the tradition inherited from their father Pandit Seu, a leading painter in Guler, a small state in the Punjab hills, at the turn of the 18th century. Unlike Nainsukh, who had several patrons, such as Raja Balwant Singh, Manaku is not known to have a specific patron. “The project is very close to my heart from the very beginning. Manaku was an extraordin…

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