Children and Youth Festival “Russia-India: From Heart to Heart” Comes to IRMT, Naggar
On October 6, the Himalayan Roerich Estate resounded with the joyful voices of children participating in the Children and Youth Festival “Russia-India: From Heart to Heart” that visited the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT) already for the fourth time during the traditional Indo-Russian culture festival on the occasion of the Roerichs’ anniversaries. In 2018, the festival is conducted under the banner “The Roerichs’ Himalayan Estate – Karma-Bhumi of the Great Russian Family” and dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Roerichs’ settling in the Kullu valley.
Festivities opened at the IRMT Green Theater with the prayer to Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge, art and beauty, performed by the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children. The Kullu valley schoolchildren invited to take part in the festival, teachers, guests, and the Indian and Russian staff of the IRMT assembled at the Green Theater ground. The Indian Curator of the IRMT Ramesh Chander addressed the gathering with a welcome speech. He spoke on the cultural activities of the Roerichs and their outstanding contribution to the strengthening of friendship between Russia and India. Mr. Chander expressed gratitude to the volunteers from the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR), Moscow who had been regularly coming to the IRMT for the past several years, for their significant and varied assistance in the preparation and conducting of IRMT festivals, maintaining flower beds on the IRMT territory, and organizing exhibitions and work with children.
The colourful paintings by Russian kids aroused great interest among the children and adults alike. The head of the group of ICR volunteers Tamara Merges told the guests how passionately the Russian children and youth painted India and expressed their vision of this country, and how they dreamt of visiting this land of striking temples, wise elephants and bright colours – the land the Roerichs loved so much. Then the Russian guests wearing traditional costumes familiarized the gathering with the Russian crafts and offered them traditional sweet treats.
The Russian Curator of the IRMT Larisa Surgina greeted all those present on the occasion of the opening of the traditional October festival and the third stage of the Children and Youth Festival. She thanked the guests from Kullu, Manali and Naggar schools for their participation in the event, and invited them for the guided tour of the children’s painting exhibition “The Bridge of Culture and Friendship Between Russia and India” displayed at the Green Theater ground, IRMT.
The Russian poetess Olga Slepova from Zarechny (Penza Region) presented her poetry collection Light of Joy in two languages, Russian and Hindi (the Hindi translation was made by Gautam Kashyap) illustrated by a young artist Nadia Ovcharova, the poetess’ granddaughter. A teacher from the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children Anshul Kumar recited the Hindi version of Olga Slepova’s poem The Light of Art, which became a message for the participants of the upcoming children’s painting competition.
The poetess proposed the children to make illustrations to her poems that they particularly liked, and the competition participants who had gone through her poems in advance went straight to work. For the next two hours, they tried to express their artistic vision of the “Bridge of Friendship Between Russia and India” based on the poetic images conjured by Olga Slepova.
On the completion of the competition, each participant received a certificate, a copy of Olga Slepova’s book, mementos of the International Children and Youth Festival “Russia-India: From Heart to Heart” and postcards with reproductions of Nicholas Roerich’s paintings.
The principal of La Montessori School in Kullu solemnly handed over the paintings on the theme “Russia Through the Eyes of Indian Children” to the Russian volunteers for exhibiting them in Russia.
The day closed with the master classes on making flowers and pretty lucky charm dolls from strips of fabric. That day, till quite late, the Green Theater ground resounded with children’s laughter and the atmosphere of joy prevailed there.
These festivities marked the opening of the October Russian-Indian Culture Festival “The Roerichs’ Himalayan Estate – Karma-Bhumi of the Great Russian Family.”