Christmas Celebrations at IRMT
This year, Christmas festivities in the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), Naggar opened with the inauguration of the painting exhibition by the members of Mahsu Art, a Shimla-based society dedicated to the promotion of fine arts. The exhibition, called “Oneness” and presented by the curator of Mahsu Art Dr. Bhader Singh, Asstt. Prof. in Painting, Rajakiya Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Shimla, displayed a considerable number of the recent works by 10 members of the group hailing from Nepal and various states of India (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir) executed in a wide range of styles and media: figurative representations of the mountains, abstract impressions, realistic portraits of the people inhabiting the Himalayan region, watercolours of the mountain landscapes and Himalayan villages, Shimla cityscapes, etc. The exhibition has aptly demonstrated that the participating artists who are mostly recent graduates or students of fine arts are getting more and more mature and confident in their expression.
This was followed by an extensive cultural programme for and by the children of Naggar and neighbouring villages. On behalf of the IRMT management the young guests (by now 180 in number!) were welcomed by the Indian Curator Ramesh Chander and Asstt. Russian Curator (on deputation from the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow) Alexander Pereverzev, who briefly spoke on the significance of the festival and the Person whose heroic life and accomplishments it celebrates – the Great Teacher of humanity Jesus Christ who figured so prominently in the art and thought of the Roerichs – for the spiritual history of mankind.
After the traditional opening of the programme with the prayer to the goddess of arts and learning Sarasvati (Sarasvati-vandana) performed by the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children managed by the IRMT, the local children aptly demonstrated their creativity reciting poems on Christmas and their beloved Santa Claus (the youngest among them was just three), singing carols and Christmas songs (the unforgettable Jingle Bells), and performing popular Bollywood dance items. This year, a rather novel item was added to the usual repertoire: a fashion show showcasing different traditional costume designs of the Kullu valley. This item was choreographed by the dance teacher from the Academy Mamta Thakur who closed the programme with her inspiring recital of a well-known Gujarati dance with sticks Garva.
A very special treat awaited the young guests: the cream-topped Christmas cakes prepared for the occasion and carefully sliced into 180 tiny pieces, and gift packs stuffed with local and Russian sweets and stationery.
The day closed with the certificate distribution ceremony for the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Art for Children. The students had much to be praised for and the praise was well earned: apart from diligently attending the dance, music, vocal and art classes throughout the year they took active part in all cultural events and festivals organized by the IRMT, enthusiastically participated in the local and international painting competitions and even won several prizes.
The event was well covered by the media a recorded for the local TV channel.