Rajasthan royal art, Indian bio-diversity to be showcased in Britain

February 4th, 2009 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) A relatively unknown genre of religious and traditional court paintings from Rajasthan and the Indian bio-diversity will be the themes of the English summer in UK in 2009 in a collaborative venture between the HSBC Bank and the British Museum in May. The collaboration, “Indian Summer”, dedicated to Indian culture, will feature exhibitions, performances, lectures and film screenings.

The highlights of the Indian summer will be a travelling international exhibition, “Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur” presented by the British Museum and “India Landscape”, a specially-commissioned garden presenting Indian bio-diversity in the museum’s forecourt in collaboration with Kew Gardens.

Introducing the India culture showcase in the capital Wednesday, Naina Lal Kidwai, group general manager and chief executive officer of HSBC, India, said: “As the world’s local bank, HSBC is keen to understand the culture wherever it operates. India is the key market for the HSBC Group. The Indian Summer will provide the British audience an insight into the life, history and culture of this country and further business ties between India and UK.”

HSBC has cultural exchanges with 21 countries across the globe. It focused on the art and culture of contemporary China last year.

The art exhibition, “Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur”, is based on a 15-year research by art historians Debra Diamond and Catherin Glynn that studied the cultural and aesthetic impulses at the Marwar court between the 17th and the 19th century.

This large format art belongs to the Rathod dynasty of Jodhpur-Marwar school. It is a languishing art form.

The title uses as metaphors two aspects of royal culture - the sensuous court parties and snapshots of the idyllic landscapes around which the religious myths of Hindu deities flourished.

It will begin in London for a period three months starting May 28.

The British Museum and the HSBC Bank, as part of the show, has loaned 55 works from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in Jodhpur, set up by Maharaja Gaj Singh II. The travelling exhibition will also touch US and come to India later in the year.

These large format works, said Richard Blurton, assistant keeper of the British Museum, are specific to Jodhpur and not found anywhere else.

“The paintings have never been seen before in Europe and are of exceptional quality. They focus on the temporal courtly life of pleasure on one hand and an internal life of devotion on the other. The works are a fusion of ideas from the Mughal tradition and the local Rajasthani court art. India is incredibly important in UK at the moment because Indians form one of the largest segments of the Asian diaspora. Last October, we exhibited life, art and cultures from Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India,” Blurton told IANS.

The “India landscape”, the joint bio-diversity display by the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, will present the country’s green legacy from the mountainous environment of Himalayas, the temperate meadows and end in a sub-tropical showcase of a tank filled with lotus blooms.

The garden will be erected on the museum’s west lawn.

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