The anniversary of Svetoslav Roerich in the IRMT
The anniversary of Svetoslav Roerich was celebrated in the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar with a rich programme packed with exciting events. As per tradition, the festivities opened with a Prayer for Peace (shanti puja), in which the guests of the Himalayan Roerich Estate took part.
After the solemn ceremony of hoisting the national flags of Russia and India and the Banner of Peace the painting exhibition «Russia and India: a Duet» of Shanti Kushwaha who spent many years in Russia was opened. She exhibited more than 40 paintings executed in the style of Russian Classicism. The holy places of Russian and Italy, including those connected with the life and work of St. Francis of Assisi, Russian and Indian landscapes and a series of beautiful female portraits attest to the wide range of interests and considerable talent of the young artist.
Next the guests of the memorial complex had a chance to see the unique samples of Himalayan folk art displayed in the new gallery opened in the recently repaired halls of the Laboratory Block of Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute. The exhibition was jointly developed by the Russian and Indian staff of the IRMT with the active participation and support of the Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich, Moscow.
Among the exhibits one can see the traditional music instruments of the Kullu valley, the masks of local deities used during religious ceremonies and processions and carved wooden chests and Tibetan teapots typical of Lahaul and Ladakh. The exhibition also displays rumals, the two-sided embroidered silk scarves. This craft once quite popular in India nowadays survives mostly in Chamba. Traditional shawls and patus of the Kullu valley astound one with the brightness of their colours, while Kashmiri papier-mache items amaze one with their fine and harmonious design.
Some of the displayed artifacts were collected by the Roerichs during their expeditions around North India. In the same category fall the stone images of gods and goddesses carved in classical and late folk style. The stone images of Shiva and Parvati, Durga slaying the buffalo demon, Vishnu reclining on Sheshnag, Ganesha etc. as well as the carved wooden gates forming part of the exhibition of stone and wooden arts were transferred by the Roerichs from ruined temples. The frieze prepared on the basis of the photographs taken by Lyudmila Shaposhnikova decorating the Urusvati Building corridor allows visitors to instantly delve into the atmosphere of the Himalayan region with its picturesque landscape and unique culture.
«The Russian diplomatic mission considers IRMT the key cultural cooperation project between our countries», – remarked Mr. Denis Alipov, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India. «We shall do everything to make this joint project worthy of the memory of our extraordinary countrymen and turn it into one of the best world-class cultural, educational and scientific centers». Mr. Alipov noted that there had been a marked progress in the development of IRMT due to considerable efforts of the Russian and Indian Curators, IRMT and valuable support of Mr. Rakesh Kanwar, DC Kullu. The premises are being repaired, new exhibitions are being opened, the Academy of Arts for Children is functioning and a new Cultural-Educational Center opened in the IRMT for the benefit of tourists and the residents of Naggar.
Larisa Surgina, Russian Curator, IRMT read out the welcome address to the guests and participants of the celebrations in the IRMT from the International Center of the Roerichs. The address mentioned that «Having founded the International Roerich Memorial Trust in India and the Centre-Museum named after Nicholas Roerich in Russia, Svetoslav Roerich created an unbreakable bridge of friendship which not only binds our sister organizations but also unites the people of our countries. We sincerely believe that we will continue to follow the path laid by Svetoslav Roerich and firmly abide by our decision to serve the cause of culture, this inexhaustible source of inspiration, this giver of greater happiness in life».
The award distribution ceremony for the winners of the annual children’s painting and essay-writing competition «The Colour and Sound of Roerich’s Realm» conducted in the Leningrad Region under the aegis of the St. Petersburg branch of the ICR, in which the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, IRMT participated, took place within the framework of the celebrations. The representatives of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India Mr. Denis Alipov and Mr. Sergey Karmalito and the representative of the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow Mrs. Galina Tesis awarded certificates and prizes brought from Russia for the occasion. The youngest winner of the competition has recently turned five years.
The winners of the local painting competition conducted in the IRTM on October 11 on the occasion of Nicholas Roerich’s anniversary were also awarded. Inspired by Roerich’s work, the children painted Himalayan monuments and tried to express in their works the necessity to protect them.
The cultural programme featuring the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, IRMT and the children’s National Variety Ballet «Zhemchuzhinka», Orenburg, Russia became the acme of festivities. It opened with the traditional nati dance so popular in Kullu. Then the youngest students of the Academy performed the classical Indian dance Kathak. And although not all of them found their place on the stage despite multiple rehearsals, these little princesses wearing traditional Indian dresses charmed the audience with their grace and naturalness. The collage of old Hindi film songs performed by the Indian children including «Mera Juta Hai Japani» from the famous film of Raj Kapoor «Awarah» popular even in Russia drew ample applauds from the audience.
The choreographic compositions «Kalinka-Malinka», «The Moscow Cadrille» and «The Silken Orenburg Scarf» etc. in the original interpretation of the Director of «Zhemchuzhinka» Olga Morozova performed by the young Orenburg artistes caused a veritable storm of rapturous ovation and left an indelible trace in the hearts of the residents of Naggar and foreign guests who attended the celebrations. Such brilliant performances by talented Russian youth made possible due to the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in India and on the initiative of the interregional non-governmental organization “Dostoyaniye” headed by Natalya Pivovarova have of late become a tradition with the IRMT.
The exhibition of works by the winners of the Russian children’s batik embroidery competition put up in front of the theatrical stage provided a picturesque background to the programme. At the same time, the Kangra miniature exhibition displayed by the artist Vijay Sharma and the exhibition of rumals created by the female artists from Chamba became a befitting closing note to the festivities that marked the month of October at the Roerich Estate and became a true festival of the Russian-Indian friendship and culture.