Autumn Festival “India-Russia-The Roerichs” opens in the Sacred Himalayan Roerich Estate
On October 7-9, the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT) celebrated the 143rd anniversary of the great Russian artist Maharshi Nicholas Roerich as part of the festival “India-Russia-the Roerichs” dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the International Roerich Memorial Trust and the 70th anniversary of Russian-Indian diplomatic relations. The guests of honour at the festival were Mr. Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India, New Delhi, and Mr. Rakesh Sharma, Additional District Commissioner, Kullu. The members of the Forum of Indian Photographers and Artists (FIPA) headed by the FIPA president Mr. Vimal Mehta, a group of volunteers from the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR), Moscow, headed by Mrs. Tamara Merges, as well as numerous guests from India, Russia and other countries took part in the festivities.
The festival opened with the traditional Indian arts and crafts fair. The well-known craftswoman hailing from Chamba Mrs. Kamala Chadha offered to the attention of the public her famous rumals or scarfs with dual-sided embroidery. Ms. Sunita Bali, Design Consultant with the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, displayed the elegant dresses and accessories of her own design which masterfully blended traditional and contemporary motifs. The wall hangings created by the Kullu artist-cum-weaver Vishwanath Nair based on Nicholas Roerich’s paintings and the bright-coloured pictures by the Rajasthani artist Ram Swarup Rao depicting typical Rajasthani landscapes and genre scenes attracted particular attention of the visitors.
After the inauguration ceremony, the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children (HRAA) managed by the IRMT, and the local schoolchildren enthusiastically carried on with the festival “From Heart to Heart” happily taking part in the traditional children’s painting competition, which took place in the same venue – in front of the Green Theater, IRMT. This year, the theme of the competition was “Kullu – the Valley of Gods.” The young participants of the competition put all their love of their native place and its traditions into their bright and picturesque works, which will later be transferred to Moscow to take part in the travelling exhibitions as part of the ongoing children’s festival of Russian-Indian friendship.
After the round of the fair, the guests were invited to attend the inauguration of the exhibition of children’s paintings “My Beloved Russia” brought from the Russian Federation by a group of ICR volunteers as part of the Children and Youth Cultural Festival of Russian-Indian Friendship “From Heart to Heart” and solemnly presented to the IRMT. The exhibition showcased the works by the children from different Russian cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kurgan, Krasnodar – that presented an affectionate view of Russian nature, the Russian people’s daily life with its traditional joyful celebrations. With great interest the young and old Indian guests of the festival studied the images of far-away Russia that has been India’s all-weather friend and reliable partner for many decades – to a great extent due to the efforts of the Roerichs themselves. The sacred Himalayan Roerich Estate also attests to the spiritual closeness of the two countries being the place of joint work of the Indian and Russian staff and the venue of exciting cultural events.
The first day of the festival closed on a pleasant and unexpected note. The Russian volunteers from the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow, invited the painting competition participants to join the exciting “Tour of the Traditional Russian Games and Entertainments” accompanied by the Russian folk tunes and songs. With great excitement the children played, jostled, blew traditional Russian pipes, and explored the traditional Russian games including “Woman Weaver,” “Cover,” “Hit the Bull’s Eye,” “Pillow Fight,” and “Tug of War.” In conclusion, they joined in a circular dance and sang “Let There Always Be Sunshine” in different languages, after which they were presented with Russian souvenirs and sweet prizes. The HRAA teachers were extremely helpful in organizing this part of the programme.