New Delhi: Eminent Indian rock art historian Meenakshi Dubey Pathak was bestowed the 'Knight of the Order of Art and Letters' today by the French government for documentation of ancient rock art in central India.
Pathak, who had received a doctorate under the fellowship of University Grants Commission for her study on "Prehistoric Rock Paintings on Panchmarhi Hills", was awarded the honour by the French Ambassador to India Francois Richier.
Pathak has become the first Indian rock artist historian to have received the "Knight of the Order of Art and Letters", a French distinction that was awarded to internationally- acclaimed sculptor-artist Subhodh Gupta last year.
"I began working in this area since I was 21 and have covered states including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, but had never imagined that this could come my way. It is a rare honour and I am grateful to the French government for the same," she said.
On the occasion, the French Ambassador said that his government was keen on strengthening the partnership with India in the field of heritage as well.
"India and France have traditionally collaborated in various areas including science and defence and now the government is keen on increasing that partnership in the field of heritage as well," Richier said.
He termed the work done by Pathak in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in collaboration with French curator Jean Clottes as "exceptional".
Pathak, whose vast body of work also includes documentation of tribal rock art, presented one of her rock art creations to the Ambassador during the event at the French Embassy here.