Friday, 24 September 2010

Elements: My five years art journey

My art journey began in Moscow in 2005 when I met the famous artist Zurab Tsereteli at his art museum in the centre of the city. He invited me to paint at his studio located within the museum and I painted a restless man standing between hope and despair. Then I continued painting, more intensly in St. Petersburg where I had the opportunity to participate in the art life of the great city for almost three years, participated in several group and solo exhibitions in St. Petersburg and Paris. Art became a way of life for me in St. Petersburg. Artists, poets, writers were my regular guests. Regular interaction with them resulted into a very inspiring book about the transformative power of art which I plan to publish as 'Colours of Soul' in the coming time. Here I present the digital catalogue of my art works so far for the benefit of the viewers. I hope you'll find it stimulating.

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Friday, 17 September 2010

India 2010

I had left New Delhi on 15th August 2005 for Russia and returned to India on 4th July 2010 when the country was preparing for the Commonwealth games. I have now spent little more than 2 months between Nalanda(just 5 days) and Delhi and would like to share my impressions of the changes which have crept in the last five years.

At the very outset I would like to add that the perspectives of individuals, the way we look at things, also changes with time and experience. I would have perhaps written a different account of the changes in the last five years if I would have stayed back in India all these years.

What attracted my attention first and foremost was a newly built terminal at the Delhi International Airport, pre-paid taxis from the airport to the city(no haggling or overcharging). Auto rickshaws  have changed from yellow-black to yellow-green and strangely were strictly charging as per the meter-rates, no haggling or over charging.

The number of cars has exponentially increased on the roads and traffic congestion has increased over the past five years but traffic regulations were absent as was five years. No lane discipline, random driving but surprisingly I saw a very few traffic accidents.

From villages to cities, almost everybody has a mobile phone. I saw solar lights being put in the villages and a dish antenna on the top of every home. The roads were wider and new. Train services has improved

 There were labour shortages though in the rural areas, not enough people to sow and reap the paddy plants. Lots of people have migrated to the urban areas and it was difficult to grow agricultural produce without sufficient number of people.

India has established two international universities- Nalanda University in Nalanda, Bihar and South Asian University in Delhi.

There is construction going on all across Delhi in light of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. Many places are dug up for reconstruction. Delhi has a new and efficient metro system which is expanding with time.

There is a new residential complex for the Indian diplomats in the beautiful Chankyapuri. Life seems to be getting better.

Several new art galleries have cropped up during the past five years in the outskirts of Delhi. India now hosts India Art Summit annually which attracts the top notch art galleries, artists, art critics and collectors from the whole planet. The next one is coming up in January 2010.

Delhi is growing fast in its suburbs NOIDA and Gurgaon. Malls, new housing, entertainment centres such as Kingdom of Dreams, India Place etc. now are the highlights of these places.

My favourite Khan Market where I used to spend my evenings at the Barista cafe along with friends has changed. Barista cafe has shifted to a much larger space (though the old charm seems to be lost), Chonas restaurant has opened a new outlet 'Chona's pub' and the market has been dug up for rennovation.

Mumbai has a new Sea Link.

There has been no change in the uncleanliness and order in the streets in either the capital or the smaller towns and cities. They await their saviours.

Views expressed are author's own.


Sunday, 12 September 2010

San Martin Marg

Ever since I have arrived in New Delhi I have been wondering who is Sam Martin after whom a road in Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave is named? I live in the newly built Residential Complex for the officers at the Radhakrishnan Marg(road) which meets San Martin Marg at ninety degree. I often travel on San Martin Marg by car or stroll on it making my way through this leafy promenade. It is one of the important roads which connects Panchsheel (Five Principles) Marg with the Mahatma Gandhi Marg(popularly known as the Ring Road). Important buidlings such as the buildings of British School, Vivekanand International Foundation, Asian Development Bank stand on sides of this road.

After two months of curiosity, finally today while strolling in the evening I had a glimpse of the tablet showing who was Jose de San Martin. What caught my attention was San Martin being called as 'Saint of Swords'. He is in the company of the Greats such as George Washington and Simon Bolivar. He is known as the liberator of the  Spanish part of the South American continent from Spain. He is national hero of Argentina and Argentina's highest award is named after him.

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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Meeting with a Poet, Artist, Philospher & Civil Servant

A few days ago an acquaintance Amar Anand introduced me to the website of Sangeeta Gupta, a poet, artist, philosopher and civil  servant. Sangeeta Gupta has written several books of poetry, done 23 solo exhibitions, participated in many group exhibitions in India and abroad, is a serving officer of the Indian Revenue Service and has a noble purpose to establish a museum titled  'Earth'. Born in Kushinagar(where Budha got Mahanirvana) in the home of learned parents Sangeeta Gupta started reading Dr. Zhivago, War and Peace  and other classic, as well as writing poetry since the age of 13. She joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1984. While posted in Calcutta she came in close association with Mother Teresa and her philosophy of true service. When Sangeeta Gupta expressed the desire to join Mother Teresa, Mother advised her to serve people in her capacity as a revenue officer. Sangeeta Gupta rededicated herself to the service of the people. It was in Calcutta that Sangeeta Gupta came in touch with an artist and received formal training in art. Since then she has not looked back.

Sangeeta Gupta shared some deep thoughts on art-

Art as passion vs. Art as profession: Artists who make their money out of art become repetitive and predictable. True art is a spiritual exercise free from any expectations of exhibitions or sell of the art works.

National themes vs Universal themes in art - People often tell her that she could me more successful as an artist if she used Indian themes or motifs in her art works but she dismisses this nationalization of art. Art should have universal themes with which any man or even the aliens can associate themselves.

Art vs literature- Art is eternal while most of the literature is temporal. For example one cannot read a 16th century classic today in its original form but one can admire a 16th century classic painting.

It was a pleasure meeting such an enlightened soul who also happens to be a Civil Servant.

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