“Art Expedition-2018. The Himalayas”
On May 8-15, the exhibition of the results of the International Plein Air and Exhibition Project “Art Expedition-2018. The Himalayas” was held in the India International Centre, Delhi. The majority of the displayed paintings and graphics were made during the project in the Roerich Memorial Estate on April 12-May 2, 2018. It was a truly unique event since it was for the first time in the history of the International Roerich Memorial Trust that fifteen artists from Russia got a wonderful opportunity to live and paint in the personal estate of the world-renowned artist, philosopher and public figure Nicholas Roerich.
In less than 20 days of fruitful work en plein air, the artists managed to complete more than hundred canvases depicting the historical, architectural and natural monuments of the Himalayas that are connected, directly or indirectly, with the creative work of the great Russian family, and are the powerful places of the spirit and the universally known world cultural sites. The artists donated about 30 of their paintings to the International Roerich Memorial Trust. These were displayed at the exhibition of project results in the IRMT and subsequently in Delhi.
The final exhibition “Sacred Places. Russia and India” became a worthy conclusion of the project “Art Expedition – 2018. The Himalayas.” Apart from the paintings created in the Himalayas, the exhibition displayed the works made earlier in Russia within the framework of the International Plein Air and Exhibition Project “Russian Atlantis” that had been held continuously for several years in the 20 old cities of Russia’s Golden Ring. The canvases of the Russian series reflect the stern grandeur of the Orthodox Christian churches and the subtle heart-touching lyricism of Russian nature. Just like the canvases from the Himalayan series, they remind one of one’s ancestors, of the authentic beauty of ancient cultural monuments, of the necessity of careful treatment of the spiritual treasury of nations – all nations, for, as Nicholas Roerich wrote, “the culture of spirit stands above all borders.”
The artists’ introduction to the life and creative work of the Roerichs started with the detailed guided tour of the estate given by Mrs. Larisa Surgina, the Russian Curator of the International Roerich Memorial Trust, and the employee of the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. The two-storied stone building, the summer studio, ‘Urusvati’ Institute, the Samadhi spot, the old park and the paths running through it… These memorial sites of the Roerichs that have preserved the special atmosphere of love, mutual understanding, and creative life aspiring towards the highest ideals became the main source of inspiration for the participants of the project. As well as the natural beauty of the Himalayas, the ancient temples, the sacred traditions of the Kullu valley, the deodar forests and Buddhist monasteries that once upon a time inspired the Roerichs themselves to create.
The main organizer of the project was the St.Petersburg Centre for Humanitarian Programs (Russia), while the co-organizers were the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India; the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar; the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Delhi; the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow; and the Union of Artists of Russia. The project started on April 15, the anniversary of the Roerich Pact for the protection of cultural properties, while its completion was marked by the exhibition inaugurated on May 1 in the IRMT Exhibition Hall that became one of the main events of the Indo-Russian festival dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Roerichs’ settling in the Kullu Valley and the foundation of ‘Urusvati’ Himalayan Research Institute.
“The arch-objective of the exhibition,” remarked the curator of the project Mr. Vitaly Vassilyev, Director of the St. Petersburg Centre of Humanitarian Programs and Meritorious Culture Worker of the Russian Federation, “in accordance with the message bequeathed to us by the great Citizen of the World, the Russian-Indian Master Nicholas Roerich, is precisely to warn man against the barbaric neglect of the decaying cultural monuments, to call for the necessity of daily addressing the issues of his spiritual healthcare and strengthening the moral-ethical foundations of society as a whole irrespective of the creed and political orientation of each separate individual. It is man that erects the temples of spirit. And it is man that ought to preserve them.”
Video about the project “Art Expedition-2018. The Himalayas”
The main organizer of the project - the St.Petersburg Centre for Humanitarian Programs (Russia)