Exhibition celebrates the beauty of Buddhism through popular artworks
The exhibition "Buddham Sharanam Gacchami" showcases the journey of Buddhist art and culture globally, displaying artworks by renowned modern Indian artists.
A 6-feet-tall sketch of Sanghamitra at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here shows the daughter of emperor Ashoka holding a sapling of the holy Bodhi tree while on her way to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha. The iconic sketch, drawn in the signature line work of master modernist Nandalal Bose, is among the many artworks at the exhibition inaugurated on Wednesday by Buddhist monk Kundeling Tatsak Rinpoche of Drepung Gomang Monastery and Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi.
Titled "Buddham Sharanam Gacchami", the exhibition highlights the voyage of Buddhist art and culture around the world, featuring works of art by iconic masters of modern Indian art.
Besides the numerous sketches and drawings in ink and pencil by Bose, the exhibition also showcases Upendra Maharathi's paintings including the "Seated Buddha" and "Buddha on Flames" (oil on board), "Ascension" by Arpana Caur (oil on canvas), Hungarian painter Elizabeth Brunner's evocative oil painting "Feet of Buddha" on mat, and Arup Das' tempera painting "The Eternal Beggar".
"Maha Bo", a large painting by Sri Lankan artist Prasanna Weerakkody, shows emperor Ashoka requesting his son Arahat Mahinda to set off to Sri Lanka with the message of Buddhism.
The painting also features another historical event of King Devanampiyatissa receiving Ashoka's daughter Sanghamitra and the sapling of Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura.
Maharathi's "Sujatha Offering Milk Rice", "Dharma Raksha", and Bose's "Buddha and the Lamb" also features in the exhibition.
Curator Shashi Bala noted that the aim of this exhibition is to delve into "an exploration about the visual appeal and spirituality of art related with Buddhism and its journey expressing the universal values of wisdom, compassion, and peace".
"The scenic Himalayas in their expansive visuals find their representation in the works of art by Nicholas Roerich and Bireswar Sen which have been analyzed through their compelling towards the path of meditation and spirituality in this exhibition.
"The rhythmic lines by Abdur Rahman Chugtal furthermore engages the onlookers with the life of Buddha and his teachings. We have also focused on the works of art of Ramendranath Chakraborty, Upendra Maharathi to name a few, highlighting the iconic repository of National Gallery of Modern Art representing varied visual elements of Buddhism," Bala said in the curatorial note.