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Sunday, 31 January 2016

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Conversing culture and legacy

'Rabi Chaya' art exhibition at the JDA Perera Gallery on February 2 and 3:


Anusha Wijesinghe

Over 30 contemporary pieces of art by various artists from across the world will go on show at the JDA Perera Gallery, Horton Place, Colombo, when 'Rabi Chaya' a unique art exhibition gets under way on February 2 and 3. Organised by Santiniketan Friends, the exhibition, which is scheduled to be open from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on both days, is presented by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka together with Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation and the Indian Cultural Centre.

Anusha Wijesinghe, curator of the exhibition, who is a former student of Santiniketan, commenting on the event said a few of her art pieces would also be showcased in the exhibition.

"This is the second time we are organising an exhibition in Sri Lanka that showcase art pieces created by artists from around the world.

Most of the artists who are taking part in the exhibition are former students or teachers of Santiniketan," she said, adding that some of the artists were members of Santiniketan Friends collective.

According to Anusha, Santiniketan Friends had received more than thirty art pieces produced by various artists from around the world. "We are pleased to present and share them with Sri Lankan art lovers," she said.

Santiniketan Friends, which comprises Sri Lankan past students of Guru Rabindranath Tagore's academy, was formed with a vision of providing a platform for fresh Sri Lankan graduates of the academy, as well promoting Sri Lanka as a cultural hub for art and culture in South Asia. It also aims to promote Tagore's vision of unity through culture and fusion of expression through the medium of fine arts and culture.

Rabindranath Tagore being Asia's first Nobel Laureate, is one of the earliest educators to think in terms of the global village concept. Santiniketan is his father Debendranath Tagore's concept, where he allowed anyone, irrespective of caste and creed, to come and spend time meditating on the one Supreme God.


Jogen Chowdhury

Shivaji Shet

Rabindranath Tagore expanded it further and turned it into a knowledge hub, implementing the concept of the global village.

"Santiniketan is one of the best places where you get the opportunity to mould your artistic skills in different art forms by mingling with different cultures and traditions.

The institute's ultimate intention is not merely to produce talented artistes but to create conscious human beings who care for nature and human values," said Anusha, adding that they actually try to spread the message of the great Guru Tagore, who strongly believed in the concept of global village and made it a reality through Santiniketan.

Tagore is one of the rare educationists who realised the importance of the arts in developing empathy and sensitivity, and the necessity for an intimate relationship with one's cultural and natural environment.

In participating in the cosmopolitan activities of the family, he came to reject narrowness in general and any form of narrowness, in particular, that separated human being from human being. He saw education and cultivating artistic skills in one's life as a vehicle for appreciating the richest aspects of other cultures, while maintaining one's own cultural specificity.

The works of four Sri Lankan artists, namely Janani Kure, Lakisha Fernando, Shehan Madawala and Anusha Wijesinghe, will be showcased at this year's 'Rabi Chaya' art exhibition.

Sharing display space are also five Indian artists, namely Prof. Gotham Das (Designer and a Lecture for Ceramic Arts), Shivaji Shet (Print maker), Ashi Gosh (Contemporary sculpture artist), Prithi Nirtiang (Textile Designer) and Jogen Chowdhury, an eminent Indian painter and considered as an important painter of the 21st Century in India.

Other participants include Papri Basak (Textile artist), Shanthwana Nini (Print maker) from Bangladesh, C. Shafiqul Kabir (textile artist) from Italy, C. White( textile designer and a contemporary painter) from Germany, Marina Maoslinkowa (Textile artist) from Russia, Shuknto Devanath (digital print maker) from Hungary and Devani S. (Sri Lankan sculpture artist) who lives in the United Arab Emirates.

"Admission to the exhibition is free and we are cordially inviting all art lovers to be there to witness a beautiful and unique art exhibition with the participation of artists from across the world," said Anusha, explaining that their ultimate objective in organising the exhibition for the second consecutive year is to uphold the teachings of great Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and to communicate the rich legacy and culture of Santiniketan and India with Sri Lankans art lovers.

-Anuradha Kodagoda

 

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