Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Homai Vyarawalla– India’s first woman press photographe was passed away on January 15, 2012 at the age of 98. She captured the last days of the British Empire in India. Her work also traces the birth and growth of a new nation. The story of Homai’s life and her professional career spans an entire century of Indian history. This selection of rare photographs tells her life story amid footnotes of an emerging nation, as she saw it.

©Homai Vyarawalla/The Alkazi Collection of Photography

Homai was born in 1913 into a middle-class home in Navsari, Gujarat and she belongs to the Parsi community of India. Her father was an actor in a traveling Urdu-Parsi theatre company. Homai grew up in Bombay. She was the only girl in her class to complete her matriculation examination.

Homai received India’s first National Photo Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2011. In 2010, Vyarawalla gave her entire collection of prints, negatives, cameras and other memorabilia to the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi for safekeeping and documentation. A retrospective of her work was held at the NGMA soon after, bringing her vast archive into public view.


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Tagore with Einstein in 1941

Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel laureate poet, writer, philosopher was the ambassador of Indian culture to the rest of the world.  Tagore was the first Asian person to be awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1913.

Tagore’s multifaceted talent showered upon different branches of art, such as, novels, short stories, dramas, articles, essays, painting etc. And his songs, popularly known as Rabindrasangeet, have an eternal appeal and are permanently placed in the heart of the Bengalis. He was a social reformer, patriot and above all, a great humanitarian and philosopher. India and Bangladesh – the national anthems of these two countries are taken from his composition.

The world celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore this year. Tagore forms a trinity along with the Sanskrit poet and playwright Kalidas and Hindi poet and philosopher Goswami Tulsidas.

Rabindranath Tagore has a message for mankind. His poems and essays provide a way to tackle the challenges that the world is facing today. This could be viewed in the context of conservation of environment; threats to world peace; and ways to expand the human mind and its potential.

Rabindranath Tagore believed that true democracy and freedom alone would lead to realisation of the full potentialities of human beings. It was in this context, that he emphasised freedom of the mind. A poem in Gitanjali catches this ethos admirably:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words comes out from depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Tagore wanted education to be an instrument of realization of human potentialities. He raised Visva-Bharati as an international university aimed at assisting students realise the true character of our interlinked humanity and deeper unities of our civilisation in the West and the East. Could we not build a better world by teaching love and not hatred?

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Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya or Annamacharya -an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara, was a prolific composer in the 15th century. He was a great Telugu composer who composed over 30,000 compositions, 12,000 survive. Annamacharya widely regarded as the Pada-kavita Pitaamaha (grand old man of song-writing) of the Telugu language.

The keertanas of Annamacharya have strongly influenced the structure of Carnatic music which are still popular among Carnatic music concert artists. Sri Annamacharya is remembered for his saintly life, and is honoured as a great Bhakta/devotee of Bhagwaan Govinda by devotees and saintly singers.

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Sudarsan Pattnaik with a trophy and certificate

Famous Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has won the first prize at the 8th International Sand Sculpture Championship here for his sculpture that showcased the effects of global warming.

Pattnaik’s sculpture that had a crying tree trunk and three monkeys saying, “You don’t listen, You don’t talk, You don’t see, Don’t put heads on sand, act now,” won the maximum votes.

“I am very much glad to get this prize for the 5th time, which set a record in Sandsation. I think people will be concerned about global warming,” Mr. Sudarsan said

Patric Steptoe from the U.K. and Maria Eliot from Denmark received the second and third prize respectively.

Sand artists from 10 countries, including Canada, the U.S., Netherlands and Bulgaria participated in the competition themed “Heads in Sand.”

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