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Artist Ashish Kushwaha’s Tribute to his Inspiration – Nature: This Exhibition compels us to think about Present day Human Habits

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Nature (representative image). Pixabay

New Delhi, May 28, 2017: In a world dominated by urban sprawl with high-rises and rampant deforestation, birds and animals are suffering a loss of habitat which, in turn, adds up to a loss of inheritance. An exhibition here compels us to think about the present day human habits.

From the rhinos at Kaziranga to the magnificent deer with antlers that could very well re-imagine a map of boned abundance to a peacock sitting and watching bricks being tossed up, artist Ashish Kushwaha is an environmentalist at heart.

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His tribute to nature, “Inheritance of Loss” is on view at India International Centre till May 29 here.

The artist creates works that have an ecological echo.

While the works give us an urban overview of a landscape these are not pretty in the least.

They reflect the cruelty of large scale rampant deforestation and the race to develop grasslands into skyscrapers that banish wildlife species.

“Over the past five years, he has continually exposed the workings of urban development,” according to noted art curator Uma Nair.

Nair feels that the works look like as we are looking at urban metaphors.

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“These works on canvasses, as well as a few small watercolours, look at the loss of habitat for animals and birds in the face of vanishing forests and large scale development without a thought for species who are facing the reality of no place to exist,” she said.

For the artist, his paintings are silent conversations.

“I am always thinking of prakriti — of the earth as a planet in which there is harmony between animals and man. But what I see is very different and very difficult for me,” Kushwaha said.

“I believe that art must communicate. It must tell a story and it must have a message. Animals and birds and man – we’re two halves of a whole,” he added.

“Sometimes I feel at the rate at which we are moving we certainly won’t last forever,” he maintained.

As an artist, Kushwaha is making a commentary on the many high rises and in telling a story of shrinking space between animals and man.

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“Tomorrow this story will make history because we will be looking at the endangering and extinction of animals and birds because of our selfish habits,” he said.

“If my canvasses and watercolours tell the story, our story, a human story, then in a hundred years, they can be considered an art reference, when, like the sparrows, we will hardly see these beautiful birds and animals,” he added.

The exhibition questions contemporary realities and leaves viewers deeply disturbed because it is the beauty and magnificent monumentality of a rhinocerous from Kaziranga, a graceful deer and a rapturous peacock that will stir us out of our stupor. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Exclusive: “Memesis” Depicts my Inner Feelings during the time of Pregnancy : Artist Rajni Sahni

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Rajni with her Paper Pulp Cast work made in 2003. NewsGram

– by Tusheeta Kaushik

July 31, 2017: Curated by Jitendra Padam Jain, an exhibition titled “Memesis” was a solo show of Prints and Painting by artist Rajni Sahni and was conducted at Shridharani Art Gallery at Triveni Kala Sangam from July 11th- 21st in New Delhi. “Memesis”, she says, is a representation of herself and the visual perceptions she had in her mind during the time of pregnancy.

Reporter Tusheeta Kaushik of NewsGram spoke to Rajni Sahni on how different forms of visual arts helped her in expressing her mind s visual perceptions in reality, on how art is such a potent form of creative expression which helps in soothing her mind whenever she s going through different emotions and phases in life and on how her mother found the spark and talent in her when she was a little girl.

Tusheeta: When did you realize your passion for art? When was the first time you expressed yourself through art?

Rajni: I realized my passion for art when I passed my diploma in painting from South Delhi Polytechnic College. There, an art critic appreciated it and then there was no turning back after Santiniketan. I started expressing myself through art when I found an artist in myself and that was during my Santiniketan days.

Tusheeta: Anyone or anything that inspired you to take this art form?

Rajni: As a little girl, I was inspired by my mother since she used to appreciate my work and pushed me to never stop myself from expressing through drawings and sketches. Later, as a student at South Delhi Polytechnic College for Women, Professor Jain Gajera inspired me through his works and teachings.

“Metamorphosis” | Etching on paper | 2011

Tusheeta: How did painting help you or relax you at the time of conceiving?

Rajni: Painting had a huge calming effect on me during my 9-month pregnancy! I had some critical conditions. I was there in a room for 6 months and had difficulty in moving from the bed. So, it was my husband who insisted me a lot on unleashing my pain and emotions through art. I agreed and the depiction of my imagination through the usage of different colours made me calm and composed. That s when I thought of starting a series named “Memesis” which depicts my inner feelings during the time of pregnancy. Etching, Painting, Print Making, Lithography, Paper Pulp Casting and Sculpture making are different forms of visual arts that I have worked on.   

“Saviour” | Etching on Paper | 2012

Tusheeta: You’ve mentioned about the magical relation with your daughter. How and why is it so unique and special to you?

Rajni: (Laughing) My daughter is a big critic of my art work. Her appreciation, criticism, guidance and support matters to me. She herself is great at craft making. She s in class 6th and I m glad that I m close to her and the fact that she likes sharing about her daily routine with me.

“Untitled”| Paper Pulp| 2002

 

“I ll weave my life myself ” | Viscosity on Paper | 2011

Tusheeta: You’ve talked about the complex, yet compassionate and a lovable relationship between a mother and her daughter. How this powerful relationship is depicted in your work?

Rajni: I have made a few art works showcasing my relationship with my daughter. I also have had a powerful relationship with my mother, she s been my pillar and I love my daughter immensely, that s the reason I love to showcase the beauty of a mother and daughter relationship through my art work.

Woman from the lap of woman | Paper pulp and thread on paper| 2002

 

“In the lap of nature”| Etching on Paper | 2011

Tusheeta: So, when do you usually paint and what kind of impact does painting have on you?

Rajni: See, it s not just about me as an artist. Any artist out there doesn’t t really have a regular time schedule for painting. Whenever I feel like painting, I paint. I might work on my art piece for a week then I might work on some other piece after a month. It all depends on my mood and whenever I feel like expressing something. I love painting, it has made me what I m today.

 

– reported by Tusheeta Kaushik of NewsGram. Twitter  @TusheetaKaushik

 

 

 

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Stanford Study Ranks India among the Laziest People in the World

A recent study by a group of researchers at Stanford have revealed that Indians are among the laziest people in the world

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Laziest People
Indians average just 4,297 steps a day. Wikimedia
  • A Stanford study has ranked India 39 in the world for the laziest people 
  • China, and particularly Hong Kong, has the most active people
  • The research also found out that Indian women walk even less than men

July 17, 2017: Researchers at Stanford University carried out a study on 46 countries to find out the levels of laziness. In its finding, Indians ranked 39 and thus among the laziest people.

Indian people average only about 4,297 steps a day. It was also observed that women in India walk much less than men. While men registered an average of 4,606 steps daily, women averaged 3,684 steps.

The world average is 4,961 steps. The Americans stood at an average of 4,77,4 steps daily.

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The most active people, according to the research, are the Chinese and mainly the ones in Hong Kong. Other notably active people are from Ukraine and Japan. The people in these countries walk more than 6,000 steps daily, mentioned ANI report.

With a daily average of just 3,513 steps, the Indonesians ranked as the laziest people in the world. Other laziest countries include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. These countries have an average of fewer than 3,900 steps.

The researchers at Stanford University installed step-counters in smartphones and used that information for the research. 700,000 people from 46 different countries were part of the research, which has been published in the journal called Nature.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394