Expert Hour

An exciting new domain launched

In September 2020, SGMF entered into an exciting, new domain, launching Expert Hour. All through April-September, SGMF as Principal Patron of Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation had been associated with distinguished speakers on art through the webinar platform.

Given the potential of digital media is enormous, the Foundation by virtue of its association commissioned the services of experts to speak on various topics like Preserving the legacy, techniques of master artists, evolution of cities through the architectural lens, to name a few through the webinars. Our sincere attempt is to cover as diverse topics as possible, which resonates with the Foundation’s vision. In this endeavour and also to bring on board an entirely new audience of the listening genre, SGMF has moved into the Podcast domain.

In the current scenario it’s either on the go or in the comfort of your home, Podcast is indeed the zippy way to hear and assimilate knowledge and information. Realising the genre of art, history and heritage is still nascent on the podcast domain, we aim to fill the gap with our new launch.

Thanks to our Sponsor

The chief patron for the Expert Hour series is John Delano, a friend and ardent supporter of the Foundation since inception. Having supported us in many endeavours, the US-based John Delano has offered to exclusively sponsor the 2020-21 Expert Hour series.

To know more on how to support the Foundation and to be part of our initiatives, kindly write in to

Upcoming Podcasts

The Untold Story of Mysore Lancers

October 15th, 2020

It was an absolute delight to listen to Yashaswini Sharma as she took the audience some hitherto unknown details about the Mysore Lancers, a courageous group of soldiers in World War I.

Of the several talks that the Foundation has hosted in recent times, The Untold Story of Mysore Lancers by Yashaswini Sharma was unique in several aspects. For starters, very little is known about the valour and heroic tales of these soldiers who fought for the British and were instrumental in the defeat of the Ottoman Turkish army in what is known as the Battle of Haifa in 1918, in modern day Israel.

Yashaswini Sharma is an architect, academician, author and researcher. Her practice spans a varied range from contemporary and heritage architecture to smaller scale urban interventions to conserve the tangible heritage of Bengaluru.

Yashaswini’s forte is her research and knowledge of history. The 40-minute session was enthralling as she interspersed it with interesting anecdotes and several unseen images from the archives.

As she explained how Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV feted the triumphant Mysore Lancers and instituted a War Memorial for those who lost their lives in the battle, it brought to fore a slice of history that had long been forgotten.

Watch the full talk here:

Evolution of Bangalore through the lens of architecture

September 24th, 2020

Reviving and preserving our rich heritage, both tangible and intangible, is part of the Foundation’s ideals and to that extent, we are proud to have hosted, for the very first time, a talk that is varied, yet steeped in history.

SGMF has been actively involved in fostering art and culture but we also realized that it is time to focus on other areas and include experts from different fields.

“Evolution of Bangalore through the lens of architecture” by Pankaj Modi is a result of that effort. Pankaj Modi is also a member of the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture (INTAC) and is the technical coordinator of its Bangalore Chapter.

As the title suggests, Modi talked about the changing face of Bangalore from te architectural viewpoint. He kept the audience enthralled with his talk, the little-known facets of our city, from how it all began sometime in 1537 as the city of ‘Pete’ – Akkipete, Balepete, Chickpete etc… to how it has evolved to what it is today five centuries later.

His talk threw light on how and why Cantonment came into existence in our city back in 1807, specifically relating to how the roads were named accordingly – Infantry road, Cavalry road etc.

As he revealed how Bangalore was one of the first cities to get electrification in 1905, he took the audience through its changing landscape of the city in what was a lively, virtual journey of Bangalore.

Watch the full talk here:

Preserving a Master Artist's Legacy

September 18th, 2020

Noted historian and museologist Deepthi Sasidharan held the audience captive with her interesting talk on how important it is to preserve a master artist’s legacy. Sasidharan, one of the most respected in her field, has worked on several projects with the Government of India, Private and Corporate clients on preservation and archival projects.

She emphasised the need for collectors to come forward and work together to preserve and document the artistic legacy of master artists like Raja Ravi Varma. Giving examples of projects that she had partaken in, Sasidharan addressed an audience of over 600 people, some watching her lecture via Zoom, while others logged into the live streaming on Facebook.

Her hour long session was beautifully presented with adequate pictorial references and anecdotes from personal experiences. Sasidharan also answered more than 40 questions that were posed by the audience on the need of restoration and documentation of such important art works.

Creating An Indian Beauty

August 27th, 2020

The fifth talk in the series by Deepanjana Pal, author and journalist, was interesting and impactful for its fresh perspective. Deepanjana’s book The Painter: A Life of Raja Ravi Varma is a non-fiction tale and the author makes no bones about the fact she has interspersed fiction and imagination in parts, while staying true to the history of Ravi Varma. Having been ingrained that fiction doesn’t necessarily mean fictitious, Deepanjana’s focus on how Ravi Varma’s art created a feminine ideal for a changing India in the 19th century, was candid and refreshingly full of candour.

An Interpretation of Raja Ravi Varma’s Puranic Paintings

August 20th, 2020

Any talk by Rupika Chawla on Ravi Varma’s works is bound to attract a huge following. While the previous webinars were all well attended, Rupika’s talk topped the show with regard to the number of participants. With more than 850-odd on the Zoom platform coupled with the Foundation’s huge following on Facebook where it was streamed live, the Puranic Paintings was a big hit.

Rupika, an established authority on Ravi Varma and his paintings, and whose book Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial India, kept the viewers in thrall with her talk, describing the significance and the mythology behind the master artist’s works.

Decoding the Art of Investment

August 13th, 2020

A moderated session between Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Co-Founder of SaffronArt and Sandeep Maini, Managing Trustee of SGMF. It didn’t dwell on the paintings per se, rather, it threw up several facts about investing in art and the long-term benefits, while adding to your portfolio. Vazirani, who has more than two decades of experience, took the viewers through the auction process, right from identifying the art work to the Classics, and dwelt on how and why Ravi Varma’s works have proved to be a huge asset and will continue to maintain the market value in the future as well.

A Poet of Aesthetic and Cultural Confluence

August 1st, 2020

Philadelphia-based Patrick Connors, a lecturer at Yale University and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts among several others, is also an artist. Combining his skill and knowledge of arts, Connors gave an interesting talk on Ravi Varma’s paintings vis-à-vis the technical specifications. While steering clear of mythology and the significance of Ravi Varma’s paintings, a fact that he said was best left to authorities on that subject, Connors kept the audience engaged with his interesting talk. He dwelt on technique behind the paintings, the play of light, creating a shadow notably Chiaroscuro which deals with the strong contrasts of light and dark in art/paintings.

Kerala & Guercino

July 18th, 2020

Prof. Partha Mitter is a writer and historian of art and culture, specialising in the reception of Indian art in the West, as well as in modernity, art and identity in India, and more recently in global modernism.

The Oxford-based Mitter spoke eloquently comparing how 19th Century Kerala artwork pivoted away from its traditions towards a more universal, accessible and realistic style of painting. He explained how Western art of the Renaissance, as exemplified by the work of the Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known as Guercino, influenced the art of Kerala three centuries later. 19th Century Kerala art was thus direct, relevant and emotional in a way viewers of the era could respond to.

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