On Sunday, April 16, festivities dedicated to the 82nd anniversary of the Roerich Pact – the first international treaty for the protection of world cultural heritage – took place in the Himalayan Roerich Estate in Naggar. The main participants of the celebrations were students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children managed by the International Roerich Memorial Trust, and the artists whose exhibition opened on that gala day in the IRMT Exhibition Hall.
The “International Art Exhibition of Drawings and Prints” displays more than seventy drawings by 33 artists (including the artists from Greece, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Taiwan) coming from three cultural organizations: Art Fort India, Chandigarh; Himachal Art Heritage, Sundarnagar; and Verman Cultural Celebrations, Jammu. Small-size portraits and landscapes (including city landscapes), abstract compositions and experimental graphic works executed in pencil, pen, crayon and paint demonstrate the possibilities of black and white colours and various aspects of their interaction. They draw attention with their lines and forms and the contrasting interplay of chiaroscuro. Safe from the distractions of colour, black-and-white drawings are particularly expressive and can more directly depict the inner essence and spirit of depicted object.
It is not for the first time that the Chandigarh- and Sundernagar-based art organizations exhibit in the Roerich Estate. According to the president of Himachal Art Heritage Mr. Naveen Dhiman, Naggar is a kala-sangam (confluence of arts) and the place of special inspiration for artists since “the spirit of Roerich is always here.”
The artists became the honoured guests of the festivities in the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children and the annual International Children’s Painting Competition “The Banner of Peace in Space” in which the Academy students participate already for the second time.
The festivities opened with the traditional puja dedicated to the Goddess of arts and learning Sarasvati. That Sunday when Russia celebrated Easter and the Kullu Valley marked the birthday of one of the most revered local goddesses, Kailashini, the prayer for peace and welfare pronounced by the pujari Jaidev Acharya, as well as the Sarasvati Vandana performed by the children were particularly soulful and inspired.
A guided tour was organized for the Academy students in ‘Urusvati’ Institute which houses the permanent exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” prepared in cooperation with the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. The young visitors learnt about the Pact’s history and its relevance in the world of today, the meaning and significance of the Banner of Peace and about its hoisting by cosmonauts in space as a symbol of unity and peace on the planet.
Having returned to their classrooms the children saw a video presentation with fascinating photographs of far-away galaxies and the views of Earth from space and, having been filled with inspiration, took to work. They drew our Blue Planet with spaceships soaring above it and the fantastic cities of the future. They pondered, dreamt and created the beautiful world of their own on paper. And even though they were not perfect, in that moment they were the creators of the Future!
Children’s works will be transferred to Moscow for participation in the International Children’s Creativity Competition “The Banner of Peace in Space” jointly organized by the People’s Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, and the Federation of Russian Cosmonautics. The best works will be sent to the International Space Station where cosmonauts will determine the winners.
The programme continued with the award ceremony for the best students of the Academy based on the results of the last academic year. The best artists, singers, dancers and musicians were presented with certificates and mementos. The words of gratitude for efficiency in working with children and active participation in all cultural events of the IRMT were also offered to the young teachers of the Academy headed by the IRMT employee Anshul Kumar. It was a worthy close to the academic year 2016 and the commencement of the new academic year 2017 in the Academy where admissions to the classes of music, dance, vocal and painting are still open.
The festive day of April 16 ushered in the traditional Spring Roerich Culture Festival in the Roerich Estate. This year the festival will be celebrated under the motto “India-Russia-the Roerichs” and will be dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Russian-Indian diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar.