Harpreet Tanday was born in Punjab but at the age of 11 she left India and moved to Italy. She grew up there and did her Bachelor's Degree at the Art Academy di Belle Arti G.B Cignaroli in Verona. She is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Conservation/Restoration, specializing in wall paintings, stucco and stone materials, at the Scuola Professionale della Svizzera Italiana (SUPSI) in Lugano, Switzerland.
When I asked her why she chose to study restoration she replied: « Because I grew up between two cultures, India and Italy, with different approaches to architecture painting and sculpture, and I’ve always been attracted to works of art, mostly the original technology and materials and their properties. Therefore conservation and restoration permit me to study both the practical way to create the works of art and their scientific characteristics. »
Last January, one of her teacher asked if she was interested in The Shekhawati Project and restoring a haveli in Rajasthan. Indeed, her teacher, Francesca, was a good friend of Giovanna Carravieri, one of the restorers in charge of the project. And here she is now, 17 years later in her native country, rediscovering her roots and this unique architecture…
«I’ve chosen to do this internship to collect knowledge about the arts of the place where I come from. I was looking for a project that permits me to come back in India to “rediscover” it with mature eyes, and which would also relate to my studies in conservation and restoration. The Shekhawati Project gave me the chance to reach both these goals. I had never been in Rajasthan, but I had heard about and seen some havelis during my childhood, although the Punjabi ones are quite different from the Rajasthani ones. So thanks to this project I will discover the unique heritage of the Shekhawati region and study the wall paintings in the “Arayish” technique that has some similarities with the fresco one, as well as some differences due to the use of the local materials, the methodology and so on. »
She arrived at the beginning of March and since then has managed to collect very precious information, about pigments for example, that our team was not able to understand without speaking Hindi. The fact that she speaks Italian, English but more importantly Hindi means that she can be the key link between all the actors in The Shekhawati Project.
She has also great skills in restoration-conservation, thanks to her previous experiences: in 2013, she was one of the collaborators for both restorations of both the Museum of Palace Te (XVI century) and the Ducal Palace (XVI century) in Mantova, Italy. In 2012, she also restored the wall paintings of this XVIth century Private House in Mantova, for the restoration company «Consorzio Arke » from Rome.