Today we explored the world of art through a trip to the illustrious Chitrakala Parishath. Colourful streamers dangled from the areca palm trees that lined the entrance. The trees surrounding the entire campus ensured a cool backdrop for its learners, creating a pleasing environment to culture creativity. Students sat on steps – or wherever they could spark their muse – absorbed in their artistic projects. They resided within their respective canvases practicing their art before their next class beckoned for further training. Some of them were creatively dressed, too, expressing their artistic voice through the garments that clothed them.
We opened our day on the steps outside the art gallery, sharing our cherry moments and learnings from the day before. Since the photo gallery hadn’t opened up yet, we visited the Art Mart first – an in-house store selling paintings created by former/current students and art enthusiasts. There were quite a few works that captured our hearts. Ideas were just shimmering under the surface of our imagination pool. We got inspired to make our own collection of paintings, zen-tangles and drawings – and perhaps venture into a private sale of our own someday.
The photo gallery took us on a wonderful journey of captured wildlife, right from the Himalayas all the way down to the Western Ghats. About sixty select photographs of colourful birds and animals adorned the walls of the gallery and brought life to that whitewashed space. One of the wildlife photographers presenting the exhibition – Avinash Kamath – was kind enough to give us a personal tour of their collective work. I was enraptured by the Himalyan Monal. It belongs to the pheasant family and has the most striking rainbow-metallic plumage I’ve ever seen. Apparently, the males of this species used to be heavily hunted for its crest feathers to ornament the hats of Himachal men. Thankfully, after 1982, hunting was banned and here in 2019, we got to appreciate its beauty through the efforts of those talented photographers. Long live the beautiful animal kingdom and their beholders.
We learnt quite a few things there – how, at first glance, the Bearded Vulture actually looks like an eagle (and survives on bone marrow), the Lesser Florican that resides in tall grasslands performs a flamboyant mating dance to impress his future bride, and how one of us bore a striking resemblance to the personality trait of a snow leopard – which is the ability to elude the patient photographer as she struggles to capture him on her phone camera.
We implemented our small talk skills and gained insight into the photographer’s world: his eye for detail and the big picture, while meticulously bringing out all the desired elements in his photographs. Patience, perseverance and flexibility – to keep trying for the right shot, deal with whatever comes their way and make the best of exceptionally challenging situations. Above all, passion. Which is what shone through in all the moments frozen within those frames. Koshish karne walon ki haar nahin hoti.
We disembarked from our wildlife trip with a group photograph and lots of appreciation for their work.
Our art expedition took us to both the Roerich galleries. The gallery housing 36 paintings of the Himalayas by the renowned Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich, appealed to me the most. It was aptly titled “Himalayan Studies” – every one of them portraying a different facet of one of the most majestic mountains in the world. Nicholas Roerich was an avid supporter of Chitrakala Parishath and donated 117 paintings in 1990. Hence, his and his son’s paintings found a permanent home in the college’s galleries as a tribute to his talent and generosity. The Kejriwal galleries displayed a heavier rendition of art. By the end of it, we were practically slumping from the overdose.
The lunch break at Kala Ruchi (the college canteen) was a welcome respite from the dark portrayals of the artists. We soaked up the sunshine and the campus greenery and proceeded to feed ourselves a light-hearted meal.
Dessert was a trip to the art supply store where we purchased tools necessary to awaken the artists within. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t browse through all the shelves since the check-out counter doubled up as an enquiry station/barrier between overly eager customers such as ourselves. Loaded with sketchbooks, fine-liner pens and charcoal pencils, we were all set to make art.
Before leaving the campus, we stopped at a flea market hosted by the college. A wide range of arts and crafts, clothing, jewellery, home décor, etc. was on display. I ended up buying a few rings as a souvenir of this vivid day.
We walked to the Indian Red Cross Society on Racecourse Road to clarify a few more curiosities we had regarding the process of donating blood; however, the relevant authority was tied up with other matters. Since we were short on time, we decided to save our investigations for another day.
Till then, we’ll paint dreams of mountainous proportions and follow them with the passion of a wildlife photographer.
“Nat” – Mentor @ Skills Beyond Education