The culture festival in the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar, Kullu, has closed. October 23 (Sunday) was the last day of festivities and multiple guests came to the Roerich Estate to celebrate the anniversary of Svetoslav Roerich, the younger son of Nicholas and Helena Roerich, the renowned artist and public figure, and a truly remarkable man. The inner light that characterized him, his kindness and wisdom ooze from each and every of his canvases, and saturate his speeches, notes and essays. They will forever remain etched in the hearts of those who met him or came in touch with various expressions of his creativity.
Culture Festival in the Himalayan Roerich Estate Closes with
Svetoslav Roerich’s Anniversary Celebrations
These thoughts of Svetoslav Roerich united the hearts of all those who gathered that morning under the Himalayan Pine near the Roerich House for the traditional shanti puja, the prayer for universal peace and welfare. This was followed by the ceremony of hoisting the national flags of India and Russia, and the Banner of Peace, after which the guests and participants of the culture festival “Under the Banner of Peace” proceeded to the Modern Art Exhibition Hall, IRMT, where the cultural programme of the festival opened with the melodious jingling of picturesque bells of the Indian artist Bhader Singh.
One more exhibition opened on that day in the Roerich Estate – that of children’s works made by the participants of the competition “The Holy Himalayan Rivers” that took place in the IRMT on October 16. The basis of the competition was the master class by the renowned Russian artist Lola Lonli whose solo show was on during the IRMT festival. It is noteworthy that the master classes she regularly conducts in the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow, enjoy great popularity. Lola Lonli teaches adults and children to use tempera and skillfully develops their imagination and individual expression. Her master class on the “Holy Himalayan Rivers” in the Himalayan Roerich Estate resulted in a wide range of beautiful works by the children and youth that participated in the competition. She confirmed that Indian and Tibetan children were successful in conveying the most important thing: the beauty of nature, the might of the Himalayas and the sanctifying purity of their rivers, and also in revealing the holistic nature and the underlying unity of creation, its interconnectedness and infinity. The Himalayas unite the heaven and the earth, while rivers connect peaks and valleys, villages and cities, countries and nations.... Svetoslav Roerich was often asked at his exhibitions, “What does it mean to expand your mind?” And he would answer, “It means to accommodate in it the notions of the eternal and the infinite.”
Dr. Bhader Singh is an old friend of the International Roerich Memorial Trust. His exhibition titled “Dhwani” is actually his fifth show in the IRMT. The title is an umbrella for a number of his pictorial and graphic works harping on the spiritual unity of mankind and its common divine source. We appear in this world, plunge into the mundane existence with its formal divisions and boundaries and in the process forget the Higher World whence we came. But there are certain symbols, images and sounds that bring us back to our beginnings. Temple bell is one such symbol. The artist depicts these bells in different size and colour, and in a variety of backgrounds. The sound of bell touches the deepest cords of human heart and awakens in it the aspiration for truth, peace and all those eternal foundations that we all share.
The exhibition “Russia-India. Temples Speak” that was inaugurated on the same day in the IRMT Conference Hall, is likewise dedicated to spiritual unity. The photographs and paintings displayed therein depict the Hindu and Buddhist Indian temples and the Orthodox churches and cathedrals. Irrespective of the tradition they represent, religious structures are beacons of beauty and spirituality as they embody the idea of the eternal and infinite. Their domes and finials rising to the sky beckon us towards the Supreme reminding us that there is no religion higher than truth.
The exhibition also displayed the photographs provided to the IRMT by the Interregional Non-governmental Organization in Support of Science, Culture and Art “Great Siberia”, as well as some paintings from the IRMT modern art collection.
The winners of the competition were awarded certificates and prizes during the cultural programme on the stage of the Green Theatre, IRMT. The most distinguished participants whose works displayed special skill and particular originality received prints of Lola Lonli’s paintings from the series “Myths of Ancient Slavs” and “The Scared Song of the Altai” from the hands of the artist.
The competition “Banner of Peace in Space” organized by the Department of Cosmonautics of the Сhildren's Creativity Center "Vorobyovy Gory", Moscow, with the support of the Russian Cosmonautics Federation and the Russian Federal Space Agency “Roscosmos” was conducted in the IRMT this April. Besides the Academy students, the students of the Tibetan Children’s Village School, Patlikuhal, participated in it. The works of the participants were forwarded to the competition organizing committee in Moscow, which sent their electronic versions to the International Space Station where cosmonauts determined the winners. Among the winners were several Indian kids: students of the Helena Roerich Academy and one student of the Tibetan School.
It was for the third time that the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children took part in the Open Regional Competition “The Colour and Sound of Roerich’s Realm” conducted annually by the Culture Committee of the Leningrad Region, Russia, with the support of the St. Petersburg chapter of the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow (ICR). This year the children drew “The Cherished N. Roerich Sites.” The best works were sent to Russia to the competition organizing committee. Certificates, prizes and mementos that were brought by the Russian guests to the IRMT were awarded to the winners of the competition and the young teachers of the Academy that took active part in organizing and conducting the competition in the Roerich Estate.
The Guest of Honour on that day was Mr. Mikhail R. Vorobyev, Counsellor (Chief Consular Officer), Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India. In his address he noted the considerable role the International Roerich Memorial Trust played in the preservation of the heritage of the great Roerich family and creating awareness about their contribution to world culture. He spoke of the results of the 8th BRICS Summit that recently took place in Goa, India, and the new avenues of Indo-Russian cooperation, the foundations of which were laid by the entire Roerich family, that it opened. The International Roerich Memorial Trust founded by Svetoslav Roerich and his spouse Devika Rani is one of the major centers of the strengthening friendship between our great countries.
The day and the IRMT October culture festival “Under the Banner of Peace” closed with the colourful cultural programme presented by the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children. It was organized with the support of the Kullu District and Himachal Pradesh administration, the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow, and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India.
The award ceremony was preceded by the screening of a short video about the competition “Banner of Peace in Space” with the welcome address of the cosmonauts to all participants. “From space state borders are not visible,” used to say Yury Gagarin, the first man to travel to space. And when children draw this planet as our common home, when they dream of travelling to the far-off worlds and unfurl the Banner of Peace in the starry expanses, we can be sure that our planet is heading towards a better future.