New building for Damerla Rama Rao Art Gallery urged

Rajamahendravaram: The existing old building of Damerla Rama Rao Art Gallery is not conducive to keep the valuable oil paintings of world known painter Damerla Rama Rao, an artist of yesteryears who made significant contribution to the enrichment of art forms.

The art gallery is under the control of Technical Education department for many years and under the control of Polytechnic College principal. There is a need to renovate the building for the safe custody of rare paintings of Rama Rao. The state government or even popular persons of the city have not taken any initiative to renovate the building or to preserve the paintings and some of them are in damaged condition.

Speaking to The Hans India, Polytechnic College Principal V Nageswara Rao said an amount of Rs 50 lakh is required for total renovation of the art gallery. Meanwhile, Government of India has released an amount of Rs 24.67 lakh in this regard and the state government is to sanction the remaining amount.

Earlier, Rajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation commissioner also assured to extend financial assistance which is yet to be materialised.

Rama Rao left behind a legacy of 34 fully finished paintings with oil, 129 water colour paintings, 250 sheets of studies in pencil, 26 sketch books and a large number of sketch sheets.When contacted, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) district co-ordinator L Seshu Kumari said an amount of Rs 1 crore is required to preserve the damaged paintings in the gallery. The problem was taken to the notice of INTACH director when he visited the gallery, she said.

Mounting framing, cleaning, cataloguing etc needed to preserve the valuable paintings. Moreover, expenses of INTACH staff including salaries along with boarding and lodging etc also borne by the gallery.

It will take at least 18 months to complete work, she averred. The building also needs good painting and a facelift.It is a treasure of paintings in Andhra Pradesh for which the people should feel proud, she said and appealed to the notable persons.

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