Following is an extract of an Interview which was
given by Harish Johari to Louwrien Weijers in the Year 1978. In
the interview, Harish Johari gave answers to a letter of questions
from Alexandra Gabrielli, who was publishing an article on Harish
Johari as a painter in the March 1979 issue of the Dutch "Bres
have a tradition in our family that we paint the life of "Krishna"
on every "Janamasthami" (Birthday of Lord Krishna) on
a wall, as a fresco. My grandmother painted it, my great grandmother
painted it, my great grandfather painted it, my father and mother
painted it and me and my brothers and sisters painted it and our
children are painting it.
So we saw from childhood on something happening every
year. Every year for Krishnas Birthday we painted the wall. We burned
the coconut shell and we made the black ink out of it. We made about
one hundred shades of gum, Arabian gum, Indian gum. Then we made
colors of our own, wall colors. We took the raw colors from the
market, which were earth colors, and then we put them in gum and
we made our own colors. We made our own brushes. And then we painted
the life story of Sri Kirshna on the wall and afterwards we worshipped
it. From my childhood I saw this and everybody in my family was
very interested in it.
That is what made me an artist! Because when you make
the life of Krishna, you are not only making the life of Krishna,
you are supposed to follow a formula. You have to make Lord Brahma,
you have to make Lord Vishnu,
you have to make Lord Shiva,
you have to make Narada, you have to make Hanuman,
you have to make Ganesh,
you have to make the Goddess Saraswati.
You have to make Krishna in the cradle, Krishna stealing butter,
Krishna killing demons, Krishna dancing with gopis, Krishna doing
this, Krishna doing that. In one big piece we have to show all.
And after some time everyone remembers everything by head.
Every year it is repeated on the birthday of Krishna.
All sorts of colors you have to use, all sorts of decoration. Shiva
has got to have snakes and Ram
has got to have this and Hanuman has got to have that, you have
to make cows and horses and forests and rivers and snakes and birds,
and all figures and events shown come to our mind easily. It's like
a tradition. We don't have to do much learning, all those things
become very natural to us and that way I got interested in painting.