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Discovering the ethereal world of modern masters




New Delhi, May 6: Just a few steps inside the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in the capital and an entire potpourri of art works by sculptors throw up an enchanting world of visual imageries, dotted with all things artistic and displayed with utmost sensitivity.

It is a celebration of the 63-year-long journey of the NGMA and to truly reflect its purpose, an ongoing exhibition titled “Itihaas” showcases works of art by 22 sculptors from its in-house collection. The exhibition, which began on March 29, showcases these hidden treasures for the first time.

“In conceptualizing a show from the treasure trove of NGMA’s archives we are excavating the history of NGMA’S foundation. I want to show art lovers, friends, teachers and students of art that the NGMA has works that presents the history of modernism in Indian contemporary art. These works are like milestones in the history of contemporary art,” said NGMA Director General Adwaita Gadanayak.

“These artists have given us pathways of ingenuity and innovation. They have given us a new language when you think that all of them worked in metal in 1950’s. This show ‘Itihaas’ seeks to commemorate and rearticulate the debut of NGMA through the works of artists who were finding their own pathways,” he added.

Already stunned at the magnanimity of what I saw around and at a loss of words to comprehend the larger narratives of these masterpieces, the arrival of Uma Nair (a household name in the art fraternity) comes as a soothing balm. Nair, who has written extensive texts on the works that are on display, took IANS on a guided tour of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

The first two rooms of the old building — a historical saga in itself — exhibits sculptures and paintings and drawings by modern masters Devi Prasad Roy Choudhury and Ram Kinkar Baij. One sculpture that grabs immediate attention and sort of compels you to pause and reflect on the genius of its creator is Chaudhury’s “When Winter Comes”.

Nair and I pause right before this masterpiece. The light is dim, except for a focus on the statue. It is an overwhelming experience, the silence and the overall impact of the ambience in itself seemed to speak volumes about the artistic heritage of NGMA.

Nair said that “When Winter Comes” is a compassionate yet coherent example of Chaudhury’s love for the human form.

“The image of a common labourer sitting huddled in the cold is an expressionist plaster that draws our attention to the sense of equipoise and humble rough-hewn posture. It is almost as if when he created this work he set about reorienting and rearranging the limbs, so as to gauge the position of sitting with feet pointed towards each other.

“His abandonment of the traditional vocabulary of allegorical symbols in favour of individual poses and gestures that reveal character were innovations that brought his work into their own ideations of ingenuity and prowess.There is intense pathos as well as a direct suggestion of the inherent struggle of toil and labour in this seated figure which reflects a face that holds more than a thousand emotions,” she added.

The next room is beautifully exhibited with the works of Ram Kinkar Baij. His works on Gandhi and Tagore is a haunting walk down memory lane and brings an altogether different narrative to the fore.

All the rooms that follow are as captivating as the one that you just step out of. You come across works of Prodosh Dasgupta and I.P. Gajjar, masters in their own right, and cannot help but fathom the depth of their passion as well as dedication.

“The NGMA archives are an endless contemplation of the human condition. This celebration of 63 years refines institutional foundations and defines the fountainhead of Indian contemporary art.

“These works seem to express the revelation that we are our architects of imagination — and that through art, liberated from the constraints of conventional academism, we can discover new possibilities of both mind and spirit,” Nair mentions in one of the texts, “Genesis of a Vision,” that accompanies the exhibition.

“Itihaas” is the brainchild of Gadanayak and Nair commended his efforts in bringing these treasures on public view.

By Saket Suman 

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

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Unhappy Naresh Agarwal joins BJP, says SP prefered Bollywood actress over me as RS candidate



Naresh Agarwal
Naresh Agarwal joins BJP (Photo-ANI)

The Samajwadi Party leader, Naresh Agarwal on Monday joined BJP in the presence of Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

While joining BJP, Naresh Agarwal who is currently the Rajya Sabha member of Samajwadi Party said, “I am joining the BJP as I think that until you are in National Party, you cannot do anything for the society. I am also impressed by PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi. I still respect Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, but the current scenario in SP where it is doing a coalition with Congress and sometimes BSP is very sad.”

The leader joined BJP after the Samajwadi party nominated actor and politician Jaya Bachchan for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in April. The party had to choose between Naresh Agarwal and Jaya Bachchan as they don’t have enough legislators in the assembly to support their candidate.

Talking about Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha candidate, Jaya Bachchan he said, “My comparison was drawn with those working in films… I was rejected for those who dance in films, work in films. I found it not proper. Nobody found it proper.”

Agarwal became tv channels and newspaper’s headline for making controversial statements. In July 2017, he courted controversy in Rajya Sabha by associating Hindu Gods with alcohol, while speaking on the issue of mob violence related with cow protection. However, after his statement, he was made to apologise by BJP.


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India, Pakistan should decide to think of peace: Farooq Abdullah on ceasefire violations



Farooq Abdullah
National Conference party leader, Farooq Abdullah (File Photo)

Kashmir:  National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday spoke about the situation on the India- Pakistan border in Kashmir. 

The leader speaking on the continous ceasefire violation said,”this will continue to happen.”

The leader urging both the countries to find a diplomatic solution said,”firing will continue to happen on both sides unless the two nations decide to think of peace.”

“The sooner they think about it, the sooner it will stop,” he added.

However this is not the first time when Abdullah has asked for diplomatic solutions, earlier the leader stated that war is not the solution of the Kashmir issue.


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Kabul seeks closure of Taliban’s Qatar office



Taliban office in Qatar
Taliban office in Qatar (Photo- The Newyork Times)

Doha, Feb 24: Kabul has started discussions with the Qatari government to close the Taliban office in Doha as it has had “no positive consequence in terms of facilitating the peace talks with the group in Afghanistan”, a senior government official has said.

“There is no need to keep the office open”, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani, in an interview with Middle East newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat earlier this week.

“The aim behind opening (Taliban’s) Qatar office was to start official peace negotiations with the terror group from the address, but so far no official negotiation from the office has been started with government. Even a single step has not been taken forward in the peace process through this office,” Qadir Shah, a spokesman for Atmar’s office said.

“It had no benefit for us even after seven years… It is better to close it,” Atmar said.

He also said that Kabul has so far witnessed no sign of “sincere” cooperation from Islamabad in counter-terrorism efforts.

The Taliban had earlier reached out to the US with an offer for talks and urged people to pressurize Washington to bring an end to the invasion of Afghanistan.

The Taliban had said that they preferred to resolve the conflict that began in 2001 through peaceful dialogue and warned that the use of force alone would complicate the problem in Afghanistan.

The group had called on the “American people and the peace-loving Congressmen” to pressurize US leadership to end the occupation of the Asian country, a precondition that Taliban has always maintained to begin any negotiation.


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