New Parliament building to feature artworks offering glimpses of India’s past, diversity

ByDeeksha Bhardwaj
May 25, 2023 10:22 AM IST

Six ceremonial entrances and public access ways – along with the galleries of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – will showcase these installations

The interiors of the new Parliament, which will be inaugurated on the weekend, will display art installations curated from different parts of the country in an attempt to capture India’s rich diversity.

A view of the new Parliament House Building . (HT Photo)
A view of the new Parliament House Building . (HT Photo)

Six ceremonial entrances and public access ways – along with the galleries of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – will showcase these installations, said officials aware of the matter who asked not to be named.

Animals revered in various parts of the country -- the Garud (eagle), Gaj (elephant), Ashva (horse), and Maggar (crocodile) -- will be featured in these gateway installations, they added.

There are three Indian galleries in the plan, each designed to chronologically capture the country’s journey, culminating in the historic moment of the drafting of Constitution of India. “Each piece of artwork will narrate a thousand stories,” said one of the officials, adding that artists from across the country have “worked collaboratively to bring these tales to life”.

Then there will be two imposing murals made of brass, each standing 75ft tall. One will encapsulate India’s vast heritage and culture, and the other will offer a narration of the epic tale of “Samudra Manthan” (the churning of the ocean) – the installation inspired by depiction of the episode at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex.

Former chief of National Gallery of Modern Art, Advaita Gadanayak said Parliament House should reflect both – the history of the country and its position in the 21st century.

“India has a thousand-year-old history of arts and crafts, and the Parliament should reflect the ethos of the same. That is what the Prime Minister has also focused on,” said Gadanayak. “Just like when Nandlal Bose made the murals for the old Parliament reviving Ajanta and Ellora, in a contemporary style then, even today the Parliament should reflect that,” he added.

The art at the new Parliament is the culmination of efforts by almost 75 artists and scholars, who were brought together by the ministry of culture to create a narrative for these unique installations, with themes for each hall being meticulously deliberated upon, the officials cited in the first instance said.

“True to the philosophy of ‘Sarv Dharam Samppan’ (equality of all religions), the art within Parliament will reflect the spiritual tapestry of the country,” a second official said.

The Parliament Art Advisory Committee , constituted in February 2022, was assigned the task of developing a concept for Parliament’s artwork. The committee conceptualised the visual vocabulary for all galleries, identifying themes, selecting regional artists and artworks, and supervising the execution and installation of the artworks.

“Parliament is the house of spirituality, politics, literature… there has to be an attempt to synergise all these elements. Each element has to be developed meticulously,” Gadanayak said.

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