Sunday January 21, 2018

National Museum’s ‘Ram Katha’ paintings to be showcased in Australia

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By Newsgram Staff Writer
The multifarious paintings from the ‘Ram Katha’ set of collections painted between the 17th and the 19th Century will be acquired by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra from the National Museum next month.
Curator Vijay Kumar Mathur, who has selected the 101 paintings in chronological progression capturing the story of the Ramayana, said, “These miniatures represent a matured movement that colorfully visualizes the spirit of the Ramayana.”
The collection is one of India’s richest artefacts, he further added and also recalled the National Museum organizing a “Rama-Katha” exhibition in 2013, after which it travelled to Belgium.
Pooled in from India’s northern, central and eastern territories, the grand body of artwork will be on display in the 1967-founded NGA for three months from May 22.
Director-general of National Museum, Venu V said, “The Rama-Katha is part of this oral inheritance where the epic has grown many layers, as is the case with interpretations around it through ages. Introducing the Ramayana story to Australian audiences through this exhibition will also be a great opportunity to bring international histories closer.”
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Australian government to find humane solutions for refugees in Manus Island

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FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters)
FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters). VOA

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the Australian government to find humane solutions for hundreds of refugees it has abandoned in a precarious situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

UNHCR accuses the Australian government of shirking its responsibilities to care for and protect some 800 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says the situation has become more precarious for the refugees since the government closed its so-called offshore processing facility at the end of October. Over the past four weeks, it notes, refugees who were moved to three new accommodation sites have been attacked several times. The worst case involved three people armed with machetes and an axe.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Cecile Pouilly, says local hostility and resentment against the refugees is high and growing. She told VOA the Australian authorities must resolve this critical situation.

“We are talking here about people who have suffered extreme trauma and now are feeling so insecure in these places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture. People who have been deeply traumatized have been detained, having no idea what is going to happen next to them. I think this mental issue, this psychological issue is a major one,” Pouilly said.

A recent medical report commissioned by UNHCR finds the cumulative effect of uncertainty about their future is causing a deterioration in the mental and physical health of the refugees.

It warns cessation of services, substandard living and hygiene conditions and inadequate medical care are increasing violence and self-harm among the refugees. (VOA)

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