In May 25-31, 2016 the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar, hosted the exhibition of pictorial works by the Delhi-based Ukrainian artist Mrs. Halyna Chaudhary titled “Inspiration.” The paintings and drawings displayed in the exhibition traced the major milestones of Halyna’s career as an artist and the crucial points of her life and spiritual journey.
Halyna Chaudhary’s “Inspiration” in Naggar
She graduated from the Institute of Decorative and Applied Art, Lvov (Department of Textile Design), and wrote her graduation thesis on the “Indian Textiles through the Ages.” For several years she worked as textile designer in Ukraine, simultaneously doing art, but her heart longed for India. She came to like classical and modern Indian poetry.
In 1998 her dream came true: she got scholarship to study Indian dance. Since 2006 she has been permanently residing in India. For several years she worked in the Delhi branch of the Oxford University Press making illustrations to the fiction of Jim Corbett, British and American classical poetry, Russian folk tales, etc. Subsequently she left this the job and totally dedicated herself to painting.
Exhibiting in the Roerich Estate in Naggar where she first came in 2000 was her dream. The place has a special significance for her. More than 30 years ago while still in her home country Galina discovered the philosophy of the Living Ethics or Agni Yoga – the teaching of the cosmic evolution of mankind written by Helena Roerich in cooperation with the Mahatmas, the spiritual Masters of India. It opened up new spaces inside her: the spaces that preexisted but remained unknown to her. Life’s problems persisted but their perception altered. Comprehension of the law of karma helped her to weather many a life storm.
“When you surrender and sincerely aspire towards the spiritual, the invisible world becomes visible. That is how some people have visions in the places of worship during ceremonies” says Halyna Chaudhary. During her meditations Halyna saw striking images and felt a strong impulse to depict them.
The exhibition also displayed multiple drawings dating back to her student days in Lvov when she studied all aspects of art and art history. These pencil sketches of plaster casts, draped and partly nude figures, details of interior, and portraits aptly demonstrate her solid classical background. One could also see several of her still lifes and colourful textile designs.
Her visits to the Kullu Valley resulted in the series of watercolours depicting the Himalayas. Halyna truly likes hills. While painting mountains, she normally resorts to her favourite medium, watercolour. She prefers it for its lightness and transparency which allow the artist to vitally capture the often foggy and humid weather of the Himalayas. These works virtually exude coolness and freshness.
The exhibition that opened in the IRMT became many things at once: a window into the European academic tradition of painting, an ode to India, and the pictorial record of the artist’s artistic and life journey.
During the exhibition Halyna Chaudhary gladly gave the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, IRMT, a guided tour of her exhibition and conducted a master class “Painting Landscape from Life” during which she shared the secrets of her craft with the students and teachers of the Academy.
The volume of the great Indian poet Kalidasa became the first book in her collection of Indian literature. Indian literature inspired Galina to create a series of pictorial studies of Indian life, some of which are displayed in the exhibition. They depict dancers performing in ancient temples, and women doing their daily chores. They are all saturated with the poetic vision of beautiful India.
She procrastinated but the impulse only grew stronger until it became as loud and clear as an order... The exhibition displayed some of these works. They introduce one to the world of other dimensions at once luminescent and beautiful, forbidding and beckoning, remote and close. The titles speak for themselves: Arc of Consciousness, Divine Light, Fiery Flower, O God! etc.