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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])

Startups News

Google ‘Launchpad Accelerator’ India chapter to nurture desi startups




New Delhi, July 10: In a bid to nurture Indian startups working in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Google on Tuesday announced to open the India chapter of its global “Launchpad Accelerator” mentorship programme.

The three-month “Launchpad Accelerator” India programme has been designed to grow the AI/ML ecosystem by helping desi startups build scalable solutions for the country’s unique problems.

The programme, based out of Bengaluru, will provide a cohort of 8-10 Indian startups mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, web, product strategy and marketing, along with up to $100K of Google Cloud credits, the company said in a statement.

“India has the appetite to build entrepreneurs of the future and we are proud to announce a focused programme for the next wave of Indian entrepreneurs, who are using new technologies to solve the country’s needs,” said Roy Glasberg, Global Launchpad Founder.

Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across India who are using advanced technologies such as AI/ML to tackle everything from agri-tech to language web, healthcare and transportation.

“With the dedicated India-only Launchpad Accelerator programme, we will be able to build a bridge between startups and the industry ecosystem and support them to drive innovation in the India market,” Glasberg added.

Applications for the first class is open till July 31 and the first class will start in September 2018.

In an effort to mentor emerging start-ups, Google India hosted a four-day boot camp for the first 10 Indian startups as part of its ‘Solve for India’ programme.

The India-focused accelerator programme is building on Google’s “Solve for India” roadshow from last year.

Ten Indian startups were shortlisted from across India which underwent four days in one-on-one consults with experts from Google and mentors from the industry to solve critical product and growth challenges.

“We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 home-grown start-ups by travelling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated programme for India,” Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, Google India, said at that time.

The participants were the founders of startups including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

“Launchpad” regional accelerators are tailored specifically to their local markets, helping startups build great products, Google said.


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Fuel prices hiked for fifth consecutive day



Petrol Price

New Delhi July 9: Petrol and diesel prices on Monday hiked for the fifth consecutive day, according to the Indian Oil Corporation data.

Petrol is being sold in Delhi at Rs.76.36 per litre, as against Rs.76.13 on Sunday, while diesel is being sold at Rs.68.07 per litre, as against Rs. 67.86 on the previous day.

While in Mumbai, petrol prices increased from Rs. 83.52 on Sunday, to Rs. 83.75 per litre on Monday, and diesel prices from Rs.72 to Rs. 72.23 per litre.

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last month, agreed to jointly increase oil production, which was estimated to be about one million barrels a day.

The deal, which came after days of negotiation, was reportedly aimed at easing fears of a global supply crunch.


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China’s cross-border e-commerce players value India, Middle East markets

The Indian market enjoys a huge population and high potential for economic growth, thus attracting many e-commerce players to expand their presence.




Beijing, July 8 (IANS) :China’s major cross-border e-commerce players put much focus on the Indian and Middle Eastern markets, a report revealed on Sunday.

According to app data provider App Annie, the Indian market enjoys a huge population and high potential for economic growth, thus attracting many e-commerce players to expand their presence, reports Xinhua news agency.

Smartphones are popular in Arab countries and local consumers have strong purchasing power.

But the oil-rich countries lack textiles and other light sectors, offering cross-border e-commerce opportunities for products like apparel.

Alibaba’s AliExpress tops the list, which mainly reviews the performances of third-party business-to-consumer e-commerce platforms targeting overseas consumers.

The report also showed that South American markets pose rising growth potential while developed markets in Europe and the US remain attractive to Chinese e-commerce players.

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