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In June 10-15, 2016 two Himachali artists from Shimla Distt. displayed their works in the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar (IRMT).


Messages from the Hills: Drs. Chaman Sharma and Bhader Singh Exhibit in Roerich Estate

Dr. Chaman Sharma, currently Asst. Professor in Painting, Government Post Graduate College, Solan, Shimla Distt., Himachal Pradesh, displayed his paintings depicting the beauty of Himachali nature and heritage buildings. He likes painting Himachali village life and remarkable mountain locations, wanting thereby to spread the fame of Himachal as the place of uncommon beauty. For this task he chose a notoriously challenging medium – watercolour – believing that due to its transparency it best conveys the nature and weather of his beloved region. 

His art, says Chaman Sharma, has several objectives. Besides being an attempt to bring beauty closer to people, he wants to remind them of the necessity to preserve nature, to keep environment clean, and protect traditional architecture.

Time and again Chaman Sharma returns in his art to his native village with its temples and timber houses tucked away in the Shimla Hills. His depictions of serene and unhurried village life easily become a message of peace and beauty. His landscapes are never empty: even if there are no people, one can see tiny carefree birds perched on electric lines and chirping away. Chaman Sharma also displayed a number of pictures of the villages of the Kullu Valley set against impressive peaks and ranges. 

He is clearly fascinated by the elegance and beauty old traditional pahari buildings, which, he believes, unlike modern buildings do not destroy the harmony of mountain landscape, but rather enhance it. He also likes painting old British structures abundant in the Hills which catch his eye with their aesthetic appeal. British-era Shimla with its turrets, spires and balconies, and its hallmarks like Gaiety Theater, Viceregal Lodge and Cathedral are his all-time favourites. 

During his exhibition Chaman Sharma shared his knowledge with the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, IRMT, Naggar, at the master class. He introduced them to the “basic grammar” of portraiture: the lines of eyes and mouth, and composition of face. 

Dr. Bhader Singh who teaches painting in the Army Public School, Dagshai, Shimla Hills, Himachal Pradesh, put up his exhibition on the topic of temple bells titled “Dhwani.” It is his fourth exhibition on the topic. The exhibition displayed a part of his series that he has been working on since 2008. Most of the works are executed in acrylic and graphite stick. The series depict temple bells in various shades and backgrounds.

In Bhader Singh’s view, the sound of a simple temple bell touches the deepest cords of our heart and acts like a tuning peg reminding us of something we have long forgotten: our being rooted in the divine. “The walls and boundaries we see in the world are imaginary, they only exist between the hearts of people who do not realize their essential unity as the products of a single source,” says Bhader Singh. “The sound of bell becomes like a click that instantaneously brings us to the realization of our commonality. It acts like a bridge between the people, connecting their hearts. Distinctions are superimposed, but humanity is basic. That mankind is but one family is the underlying message of Indian culture. Thus, temple bell brings us to our final destination, helping us achieve the highest goal of our life:  lifting the curtain of artificial distinctions, merging with the divine, experiencing supreme bliss.” To put his message across, Bhader Singh developed a whole new art language where bells are symbolic of the round of births and deaths, spheres stand for liberation, while sprouts attempting to escape the bells and rise towards the spheres symbolize human beings who aspire to leave the world and return to their divine source.

Although Bhader Singh has been “ringing his bells” for years, he is convinced the topic is far from being exhausted and plans to keep working on the series.

The exhibition gave a chance to the IRMT visitors to hear the timeless message of temple bells and mountain peaks and once again reminded them of the beauty within and without.