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Colourfully medical

art-and-culture Updated: May 20, 2011 01:36 IST

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Art takes a peep into the world of ancient medicine

In Medical Dreamtime, an exhibition of paintings by artist Shubhdarshini Singh. Legendary healers such as Charaka, Jivaka and Susruta and various Tibetan thangka paintings feature in the exhibition.

'I used to cover the medical beat and realised there were not many visuals of medical practitioners available in India,' says Singh, a journalist turned artist. She felt that medical science has not received its place in the visual arts in India as it has everywhere else.

A self-taught painter, Singh says this is the culmination of her research for over 20 years and also a tribute to all the doctors who opened their doors for her, gave her their time and shared their knowledge and experiences with her. 'During my research, I found that there was only a single photo available of India’s first female physician, Kadambini Ganguly. It is a pity for artists. Why didn’t Raja Ravi Varma, who gave our gods and goddesses a face, paint our medical legends?' ponders Singh.

Painted in acrylic on canvas, the artworks, as per Singh, are visuals that came to her mind in a dream-like period when she was ill. 'I hope they can fill a micro unit in the hollow existing in medicine in art in India,' she says. She also plans to start a medical museum that will trace the Indian medical history. 'I’ve been appealing to people who have or had doctors in their family to send me their photos, their medical uniform and instruments,' she says.

Old masters

Artists have always been fascinated by the medical profession. Leonardo Da Vinci spent hours discovering the human anatomy by dissecting dead bodies. In 1875, American realist painter Thomas Eakins made the much-talked about painting The Gross Clinic. Norwegian Symbolist painter Edward Munch was more fascinated by the psychological sciences and explored those in his works.

Check it out
What: Medical Dreamtime- an exhibition of art dedicated to medicine
Where: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre,
Lodhi Road
On till: May 22
Nearest Metro Station
Khan Market on the violet line