Artwork By Sraddha Karthik, A High Schooler From Florida To Be Displayed At The US Capitol

In a proud moment for Indian Americans, the artwork of a community student from Florida is all set to be displayed at the US Capitol. Sraddha Karthik, a Grade 11 student from a Tampa high school in Florida, has been declared the winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition at the Tampa Museum of Art where high school students from across Hillsborough County competed for a spot to showcase their work in the US Capitol.

This year, Sraddha Karthik, who came to the United States at the age of one along with her parents from Chennai, bagged the top prize with her graphite drawing “Pensive Gaze” created with intricacy and precision, said a media release issued by Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Ms Karthik’s self-portrait tackles perception versus reality.”I wanted to see if I could draw myself as I am and not how I think I am,” she said.

She used different shades of graphite to create depth and dimension for her artwork, the release said. Karthik, the statement said, has been drawing since she was 7 years old when her parents registered her for an art class. “I don’t have as much time as I used to before high school, but I do try to fit in art as much as possible because it’s really helpful for me to express myself,” she said.

Art will add depth to MS Karthik’s career in architecture, which she plans to pursue after high school, said the Congresswoman’s office.

This wasn’t Ms Karthik’s first art competition – she’s been competing in the Salvador Dali Museum annual art competition since eighth grade, and her artwork has been chosen to be displayed every year, it noted. “It was a very talented display of art at this year’s event – this honour could have gone to anyone in the competition!” she said of Castor’s art competition.

It’ll be her first visit to Washington, DC, when she goes for her national showcase this summer. Her artwork will then be displayed in the US Capitol for one year alongside winners for congressional art competitions from throughout the country, the media release said.

The Tampa Museum of Art provides an incredible venue for one of the top high school arts competitions in the country. I am grateful to our parents, teachers and especially students who have turned to arts for encouragement and connection as we mend from the pandemic. Reflective artwork has been a prominent theme and I look forward to welcoming Sraddha to Washington, DC, this summer to represent our talented and diverse community,” Castor said.

Dr. Mathew Joys Wins Manayil Jacob Memorial Award

The Poetry Award in memory of the late poet Manayil Jacob was presented to Dr. Mathew Joys, Las Vegas. His short poem, “The mourning of a Mother Deer” (maanin maathrurodanam), was selected by a reputed five-member judging panel for the award. The specialty of this poem is that it is an Acrostic composition ( a poem in which the first letter of each line is the same).

The award consists of a plaque and a cash award sponsored by the Manayil Jacob family to commemorate the tribute to a great poet who passed away last year. Dr. Mathew Joys is the first winner of this prestigious award, awarded for the first time by Kerala Literary Society, Dallas, the oldest Malayalam Literary Association in the American continent, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Dr. Matthew Joys is also a columnist in English and Malayalam newspapers and other periodicals. He has been writing articles on current topics, light poems, stories, and published books of his collections. His interpretation of the “Song of Songs in the Bible” named “Oh my Beloved” and collection of his selected works called “Amerikkan Aadukal “ (The American Goats) are popularly applauded by the Pravasi Literary Writers. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Indo-American Press Club and Executive Editor of the JaihindVartha, Editor of United News Network, and Express Herald.

Writer, filmmaker, and actor Thampi Antony presented the award and presented the award at a ceremony in Dallas organized by the Kerala Literacy Society. He opined that the characters should be seen and enjoyed as fantasies and that realizing them and filling the mind with competition would lead to social destruction. P.P. Cherian, a journalist and writer received the award for the winner.

The Manayil Poetry Award is sponsored by Manayil family member Rajan Chittar who said that the award would be given every year through a poetry competition. Renowned Writers Abraham Thekkemuri, Jose Ochalil, C.V.George, Josen George, Rosamma George, Santosh Pillai, Sarah Teacher, Meena Nebu, and Usha Rajendran were also present at the magnificent event.

The fourth souvenir by Kerala Literary Society, “Petals” was released at the ceremony. The book is over 150 pages and is rich with poems, stories, and essays by more than 20 expatriate writers. Former Secretary Haridas Thankappan welcomed the gathering. Siju V George presided over the function, and Anashwaran Mampilly Expressed a vote of thanks to all the guests and the Award winner. Shaji Mathew and Meenu Elizabeth co-hosted a musical evening featured by Dallas Melodies’ troop.

Inspiring Art Entrepreneur Archana Srivastava Shares How Art Is A Medium To Empower Women And Communities

“To me, preparing and letting women to make vital decisions in their life and in society is women’s empowerment . I seek to empower women through my work.” Today’s woman dreamer, Archana Srivastava, is a dynamic, renowned Mumbai-based artist, with a passion for highlighting history and tradition. Archana shares her view as art as a medium for empowerment, and her dream for her art career (such as her interest in NFTs, digital, and 3D art). She also reflects on her experiences as the wife of a senior bureaucrat. A relatable and creative journey, enjoy Archana’s story!

1) Tell us your story. You are an artist deeply rooted in Indian history and tradition, and your work is across mediums. You have had multiple solo art exhibitions as well and have had multiple recognitions for your work. What inspired you to become an artist? What inspires you creatively?

Since childhood I was passionate about art and art was like ‘Therapy’ to me. Born in a family which thrived on art and culture, it was an easy choice for me to draw, sketch, colour and paint. In early childhood days, I started drawing on slate (writing board), paper, walls and floors as soon as I could hold crayon or chalk in my hands. My family saw great potential in me and my parents would encourage me to draw/paint and to participate in school, district-level and regional competitions. Winning in such competitions encouraged me to paint more. I was a sincere student and excelled in academics. Often my study hours will get stretched and I would get exhausted. I would then draw on my practice notebook a face, figure, landscape or still life. As a result each of my practice notebook would have multiple figures and forms drawn on the last many pages. In fact often the pages with drawings would outnumber the pages with writings.

I was happy doing well in academics and pursuing art as well. My academic orientation helped me complete Ph.D in History and I started teaching graduate and post-graduate students as guest faculty in various colleges and universities off and on.

As far as the art was concerned, formal training was never an issue as my elder sister is into serious painting and my mother is also an artist. Plus over the years I have had the good fortune of learning from national and international-level award-winning artists, professors of reputed art schools on one to one basis informally. They did teach me technicalities of art but asked me to remain original in my imagination. In fact, everyone of them without exception encouraged me to have my own style. Thus I am one of those fortunate souls who learnt everything about art without joining an art school full time. Gradually, guests and visitors visiting my home would look at paintings at my place and ask me to have a public display of my artworks. Encouraged by their persuasion, I booked a reputed art gallery in Mumbai in 1999 and started working diligently towards my first solo exhibition. The exhibition was very well-received and thus began my journey as professional artist. I took up art as my profession with great enthusiasm and gusto, becoming a full-time artist and a part-time academician.

Thus art which began as ‘therepy’ became ‘thoughtful’ as I consider art to be a subtle form of expression. Through art intangible subjects can be made understandable. My art is mostly thematic and message-oriented. I enjoy portraying the complex messages contained in the ‘verses of ‘Bhagvad Gita’ and ‘Sufi poetry’ etc. I try to depict the‘non-obvious’ metaphorically, thus making it understandable.

2) You received the “Woman of Excellence Award 2020” from the Indian Achievers’ Forum. How do you define women empowerment? Do you seek to empower women through your work?

According to me, preparing and letting women to make vital decisions in their life and in society is women’s empowerment .

Raising the status of women through education, awareness, literacy, skill-development, training etc. and in turn making them self-reliant (financially, emotionally, socially and physically) constitute a major part of women empowerment.

Yes, I do seek to empower women through my work! I had made a whole series on rural Indian women. Basically, I tried to draw attention to their problems and generate awareness regarding their plight.

During my stay at several districts of Maharashtra, India I tried to solve their problems by connecting them to various NGOs, making them aware of the various women-oriented govt. schemes as well as their rights and above all, making them aware of the protection provided to them under law.

Right now, as CEO and Founder of ArtSage Pvt. Ltd. I am focusing on uplifting the condition of women artists and artisans of India.

3) Your husband is also a highly respected bureaucrat in Mumbai India. Very exciting – what does the life of a wife of a bureaucrat entail? What were some key learnings?

Being wife a of a senior and well-respected bureaucrat is both satisfying and challenging. Satisfying, as it gives you enormous opportunities to look at various problems and strengths of the country closely. It also gives you various opportunities and roles to work for the society directly or indirectly. Challenging, as it requires acting absolutely responsibly. One has to shift from one district to the other district owing to various transfers and handle many things single-handedly owing to the hectic nature of the spouse’s job. Bureaucrats are called backbone of the nation. While you are supporting and informally advising the policy-makers and law-enforcers, you can’t afford to be anything but responsible.

Given the integral role the spouse plays in the future of an individual’s life, career and field, it is important for a spouse of a bureaucrat to be level-headed, mature, dependable and conscientious. A supportive atmosphere at home can make one calm and stable to make positive and impactful decisions which can benefit society/ city/state/country.

The key learning from the experience has been that it is absolutely necessary for the wives of the bureaucrats to have their own identity. Bureaucrats and their families are closely observed and followed by many (especially at the district-level postings). Somewhere you are also being looked at as a role model. It would be a failure to derive your identity just from your man. That’s what women empowerment is all about and one can’t just preach it ; one has to practice it too. Secondly, a confident individual with a sense of worth and purpose will make a better companion and counsel than someone who is bitter having low sense of worth and nagging sense of unfulfilled potential.

4) You have recently started working on promoting the work of folk artists in India .Tell us more about that.

As CEO and Founder of ArtSage Pvt. Ltd. I aim to safeguard the interest of the folk and tribal artists and artisans of India. Folk and tribal art of India is rich in tradition and heritage and celebrated throughout the world. But unfortunately the condition of the artists and artisans is far from pleasant. They rarely get their due. Their artworks are bought at a very low price and sold at insanely high price at regional, national and international markets. Many of them quit their rich traditional/family art and opt for menial jobs in the villages. As far as some folk-arts are concerned, there are only a few families left in the country which pursue them. These art-forms need to be conserved and preserved. For that, it is very necessary to protect the artists from being exploited and support them in various ways. ArtSage Pvt. Ltd. is committed to doing that. It plans to help

them by providing resources, giving access to the technology to work more efficiently , helping them upgrade their skills, giving them platform to sell their artworks, creating awareness about the value of their art in public through workshops and symposiums and enriching their lives as a whole.

5) As the platform for women dreamers, what is your next big dream? What are you focusing on for your next exhibition?

As an entrepreneur, I dream to see ArtSage Pvt. Ltd. realising our vision to bring about a sense of creativity & learning in folk and tribal artists in India and attaining our mission to create opportunities for them. I also dream to make ArtSage Pvt. Ltd. a commercially viable venture.

As an artist my dream is to go three-dimensional and digital.

For my next exhibition, I am planning to convey/portray my thoughts in 3D as well. With this idea I plan to have installations alongside the paintings. Installation art is an art-genre of three- dimensional works that are often walked around and contemplated.

One can discriminate installation art from sculpture art (which is also 3D) owing to its complete unified experience, rather than a display of individual artworks which are separate from each other.

I plan to have installations that are both interactive and immersive.

Also I am really fascinated by the idea of NFT art as an emerging trend and plan to create digital artworks which can be exclusive collectible NFTs.

Rajani Larocca Wins Prestigious National Award For Children’s Book

Bangalore-born Rajani LaRocca, an Indian-American author of children’s books as well as a primary care physician, has been awarded the runners up Newbery Honor Medal for Children’s Literature  for her book “Red, White and Whole.”

On the 100th anniversary of this prestigious medal first awarded in 1922, the top John Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature went to Donna Barba Higuera’s “The Last Cuentista.”

The medals were announced Jan. 24, 2022, and rae considered the highest recognition for children’s authors.

Other winners announced at the same time included the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature wheich went to “Amina’s Song” by Hena Khan.

Rajani LaRocca’s other children’s books include Midsummer’s Mehhem, Much Ado About Baseball, Seven Golden Rings, as well as My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris, among numerous others.

The Indian-American author has also received the 2022 Walter Dean Myers Award for Younger Readers which is gtiven out by We Need Diverse Books.

“When I first wrote this book of my heart, I wasn’t sure whether anyone else would want to read it or care about it. Seeing it recognized in this way is so incredible and humbling. The world needs all kinds of stories!” LaRocca says on her eponymous website rajanilarocca.com. “This story was inspired by aspects of my own life and childhood, and is dedicated to my parents, who are my heroes,” she adds.

Other recognitions for the book include being listed Jan. 17, on the 2022 Notable Books for a Global Society Award.

On Jan. 16, Red, White, and Whole was declared A Mighty Girl 2021 Book of the Year. And on Jan. 1, the book was included among the 2021 Cybils Award Finanlist in Poetry.

Her biography on the website says she immigrated to the United States as a baby and grew up in Louiseville, Kentucky.

LaRocca attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School training in internal meedeicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A primary care physician since 2001, LaRocca lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and two children.

Describing herself as “an omnivorous reader” be it cereal boxes, comic books magazine articles or novels, LaRocca says the books she read as a child “helped shape who I am today in ways that I’m still discovering.”

“Books inspired me to pursue medicine as a career; books made me yearn to live in different worlds; books helped me consider what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes,” she says. Her tastes were varied ranging from sci-fi to Shakespeare.

“I believe that promoting diversity in children’s literature leads to empathy, and empathy makes the world a better place,” LaRocca says.

By her own description, LaRocca writes middle-grade novels and picture books, some of them reflecting her “experiences as an immigrant, book nerd, and foodie.” Some of her books explain medical topics to kids and some are just ideas that pop into her head.

Indian Art Showcases Cultural Pride in Los Altos

The last two years has seen the art world adapt to survive the virus, by creatively showcasing exhibits via video or virtual museum visits. Now as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, artists are harnessing the healing and curative power of art to help bring us into the community.

Led by Deepti Nanawati, the ArtCircle Studio exhibit, Culture, Color, and Light, at the Los Altos Library’s January wall, showcases the work of artists from her Sunnyvale studio. With 17 adults and 26 youth artists participating– you will find works using pencil, acrylic, and oil on canvas. The adult artists are from diverse fields: software engineers, psychologists, physicians, and teachers who “find solace in creativity and art amidst the highly stressful life and work culture in the Bay Area,” says Nanawati.

The exhibit showcases:

Culture

In this section, visitors can enjoy the unique collection of festive, colorful, and vibrant art inspired by Indian culture. It draws on the knowledge and wisdom from the ages. The artists present their perceptions and emotions as a distillation of how they perceive life and how people work and interact with different aspects of various activities we engage in. “Culture defines our daily lives, most of us have lived a significant part of our lives in the Bay area which has a unique culture of its own,” explains Nanawati.

The exhibit features paintings inspired by Hindu spirituality by Madhavi Deolalikar showing the rapture and devotion of the culmination of a pilgrim’s journey at the annual Pandharpur pilgrimage. Krishnakumar Nair leverages his journey of meditation and self-inquiry. His paintings derive from concepts based on his experiences and reflections of the divine. Deepti Nanawati’s paintings are inspired by the creative principle, beauty, and synchronicity in nature and the spiritual fabric supporting us.

Keerti Jammala has painted a childhood self-portrait with her brother, as she celebrates this connection between siblings in the festival of Raksha Bandhan where a sister ties a sacred thread on the brother’s wrist as a recognition of their connection, bond, and trust. Sandhya Dabbara, loves to paint on fabric and shares her Bharatanatyam doll painted on white cotton and art inspired by the traditional pichwai cow painting.

Collaborative Art

Culture, Color, and Light, Size: 30” x 48”, Mixed Media on canvas

Nanawati coordinated and composed this painting with artists ranging from 3 to 17 years of age. The hands strongly connect, seemingly to pull each other up, representing “Culture.” The background above the hands, painted by the teens, showcases what “Light” brings to their minds. They have composed dazzling galaxies, brilliant aurora, stars and constellations, sunshine, rainbows, reflections and scattered light. The painting showcases the love and happiness artists associate with light.

Celebration of Uniqueness Size: 30” x 40”, Mixed Media on Canvas

The background below the hands celebrates “Color,” texture, form. The ideas they chose to represent are from real life, nature, and imagination that make their world magical. Plants and animals, insects and birds, magical creatures, flowers, vines and landscapes, shining crystals have been painted with beauty, joy, and enthusiasm.

Celebration of Uniqueness

Created by 19 artists in 2018, this picture is a collaborative expression of the uniqueness of each soul and the unique perspective and perception each person brings.

The collaborative artworks have been offered by the artists (through auction and keepsake purchases) in an online auction to benefit the Food Bank for Sunnyvale Community Services. It’s the perfect way to start the New Year by empowering artists and supporting the local community.

Seventeen artists from ArtCircle Studio teamed up to create this painting. Each segment represents a slice of earth and each artist has put their most positive vision for a resolved climate, and the changes that they would like to see for the future.

A mature and intriguing piece of art.

Check out the exhibit Culture, Color, and Light, through January 31, 2022, at the Los Altos Library

Address: 13 S San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Let us know how this art impacted you and your family!

Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor, her experience spans television, cable news, and magazines. An avid traveler and foodie, she loves artisan food and finding hidden gems: restaurants, recipes, destinations. She can be reached at: [email protected]

India Observes National Tourism Day

Government of India is celebrating ‘National Tourism Day’ on January 25, 2022.  This important occasion will be followed by commemoration of the 73rd Republic Day.

This year, India will cross a milestone when it completes 75 years of Independence on 15th August 2022. The landmark occasion is being celebrated as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. The series of events are receiving overwhelming participation from Indians and all people of Indian origin abroad. The grand celebration of progressive India and history of its people, culture, and achievements, commenced on 12th March 2021. Since then, began a 75 week countdown to India’s 75th Anniversary of Independence and will end post-a-year on 15th August 2023. Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi has launched a vision of activating India 2.0 fueled by the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The ‘National Tourism Day’ needs to be seen against this backdrop.

For the celebration of the ‘National Tourism Day’, the Ministry of Tourism has been designated as the lead Ministry and Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Textiles, and Ministry of Railways will be the partnering Ministries. The Day will sensitize everyone about Government of India’s efforts to promote its Tourism potential.

The ‘Tourism Fortnight’, a special drive to promote Incredible India with a series of activities, conversations at the India Pavilion of the Expo 2020 Dubai, and a special ‘Tourism Pavilion’, in association with FICCI where various state governments took part and showcased their tourism potential are special promotion drives undertaken by the Government of India recently.

On the occasion of celebration of ‘National Tourism Day’, let us have a virtual tour of India’s select National Monuments.

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Tamil Nadu:

Mahabalipuram is pre-eminently testimony to the Pallavas civilization of south-east India.The sanctuary, known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), and giant open-air reliefs, is one of the major centres of the cult of Siva. The influence of the sculptures of Mahabalipuram, characterized by the softness and supple mass of their modelling, spread widely (Cambodia, Annam, Java).

Founded in the 7th century by the Pallavas sovereigns south of Madras, the harbour of Mahabalipuram traded with the distant kingdoms of South-East Asia: Kambuja (Cambodia) and Shrivijaya (Malaysia, Sumatra, Java) and with the empire of Champa (Annam). But the fame of its role as a harbour has been transferred to its rock sanctuaries and Brahmin temples which were constructed or decorated at Mahabalipuram between 630 and 728.

Most of the monuments, like the rock-cut rathas, sculptured scenes on open rocks like Arjuna’s penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Ahishasuramardini, and the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple (the sleeping Mahavishnu or Chakrin at the rear part of the Shore temple complex) are attributed to the period of Narasimhavarman I Mamalla.

Great Living Chola Temples

Tamil Nadu

The Great Chola Temples of southern India are an exceptional testimony to the development of the architecture and the ideology of the Chola Empire and the Tamil civilization in southern India. They represent an outstanding creative achievement in the architectural conception of the pure form of the Dravida type of temple (characterized by a pyramidal tower).

The Cholas were the second great historic dynasty of the Tamil Nadu, the Tamil country, which was the home of the ancient Dravidian culture whose influence was so considerable in the whole of south-east Asia. The great temple of Tanjore was built in a few years, from 1003 to 1010, during the reign of the great king Rajaraja (985-1014), true founder of the Chola Empire which spread throughout the whole of southern India, part of Ceylon and the Maldive and Laccadive archipelagos. Richly endowed by the sovereign, the sanctuary, which also bears his name – it is sometimes called Rajarajesvaram – had a permanent staff of several hundred priests, 400 devadasi (sacred dancers), and 57 musicians, according to inscriptions and chronicles. The Brihadisvara’s income in gold, silver and precious stones during the Chola period has been precisely evaluated. These vast resources were efficiently managed and provided not only for the upkeep and improvement of the buildings (which was continued until the 17th century) but also for real investments to be made. The temple lent money, at rates which could sometimes reach 30%, to shipowners, village assemblies and craft guilds. Dedicated to Shiva, the Brihadisvara stands to the south-west of the historic city. A first rectangular surrounding wall, 270 m by 140 m, marks the outer boundary.

Sun Temple, Konârak

Orissa

 Konârak is an outstanding testimony to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa. It is directly and materially linked to Brahmin beliefs, and forms the invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originated in Kashmir during the 8th century and finally reached the shores of eastern India.

On the eastern coast of India, south of the Mahanadi Delta, is the Brahmin temple of Kimarak (still spelled as Konârak or Konârka), one of the most famous Brahmin sanctuaries of Asia. Konârak derives its name from Konârka, the presiding deity of the Sun Temple. Konârka is a combination of two words, kona (corner) and arka (Sun). It was one of the earliest centres of Sun worship in India. Built around 1250 in the reign of King Narasingha Deva (1238-64), it marks the apogee of the wave of foundations dedicated to the Sun God Surya; the entire temple was conceived as a chariot of the Sun God with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings.

The present Sun Temple was probably built by King Narashimhadev I (1238-64) of the Ganga dynasty to celebrate his victory over the Muslims. The temple fell into disuse in the early 17th century after it was desecrated by an envoy of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. Samba was afflicted by leprosy and after twelve years of penance he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.

Elephanta Caves

Maharashtra

The island of Elephanta, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and an epitome of Hindu cave culture, consists of seven caves on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Mumbai which, with their decorated temples and the images from Hindu mythology, bear a unique testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

The island of Gharapuri, the ‘City of Caves’, situated about 10 km from Mumbai on the east side of the harbour, owes its name to the enormous stone elephant found there by Portuguese navigators. This elephant was cut into pieces, removed to Mumbai and somehow put together again. It is today the melancholy guardian of Victoria Gardens Zoo in Mumbai, the great metropolis of Maharashtra State and India’s second city population-wise.

The date of the famous Elephanta Caves is still very much debated and varies from the 6th century to the 8th century according to different specialists. They constitute one of the most striking collections of rock-art in India. There are two groups of caves. To the east, Stupa Hill (thus named because of a small brick Buddhist monument at the top) contains two caves, one of which is unfinished, and several cisterns. To the west, the larger group consists of five rock-cut Hindu shrines. The main cave is universally famous for its carvings to the glory of Shiva, who is exalted in various forms and act ions. The cave consists of a square plan mandapa whose sides measure about 27 m

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

Karnataka

Pattadakal represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there.

Three very closely located sites in the State of Karnataka provide a remarkable concentration of religious monuments dating from the great dynasty of the Chalukya (c. 543-757). There are the two successive capital cities – Aihole (ancient Aryapura), Badami, and Pattadakal, the ‘City of the Crown Rubies’ (Pattada Kisuvolal). The latter was, moreover, for a brief time the third capital city of the Chalukya kingdom; at the time the Pallava occupied Badami (642-55). While Aihole is traditionally considered the ‘laboratory’ of Chalukya architecture, with such monuments as the Temple of Ladkhan (c. 450) which antedate the dynasty’s political successes during the reign of King Pulakeshin I, the city of Pattadakal illustrates the apogee of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from the north and south of India.

Miss America Turns 100. Will She Last Another 100 Years?

As Miss America turns 100, a major question remains unanswered: Is she still relevant?

The glitzy competition, born from a 1921 Atlantic City beauty contest just a year after women were given the right to vote, maintains a complicated presence in American culture that has undergone multiple waves of feminism.

Participation and viewership has dropped since its 1960s heyday. When the next Miss America is crowned Thursday, her coronation will only be available to stream via NBC’s Peacock service, shunted from her primetime broadcast throne.

Faithful Miss America organizers and enthusiasts contend the annual ritual is here to stay and will keep changing with the times. And even though they may not have indeed devised a plan for world peace, many participants say the organization — a large provider of scholarship assistance to young women — has been life-altering, opening doors for them professionally and personally. Others should have the same opportunities, they say.

“I think that people have the wrong idea about what Miss America is all about because it’s not just about getting dressed up and being prim and proper and being perfect on stage,” said Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap, who graduated from college debt-free, founded a public relations firm and became a TV personality.

Fans of Miss America often cheer on their state’s contender like they would for a local sports team. Yet some have voiced disappointment about the competition’s attempts to adapt to contemporary mores.

“It’s in kind of a bind because as it tries to progress, it not only loses its original identity, but becomes less entertaining to the people who like to watch it,” said Margot Mifflin, author of “Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100–Year Quest to Define Womanhood.”

Fans, she said, are split over the trajectory of the competition — no longer a “pageant.” Some want it to be about “beauty and fitness” while others embrace the move toward focusing on leadership, talent and communication skills, she said.

Meanwhile, the competition is still engulfed by calls for greater diversity.

In the late 1930s, 40s and 50s, “rule number seven,” stated contestants had to be “of good health and of the white race.”

1968 saw a Miss Black America Contest, held to revolt against the lack of diversity, as well as a protest by several hundred women organized by the feminist group New York Radical Women, which called Miss America “an image that oppresses women in every area in which it purports to represent us.”

It wasn’t until 1984 that the first Black Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was crowned — and she relinquished her title over a nude photo scandal, receiving an apology from the organization only in 2015. At least 11 minority women have won the title in all.

Miss America President and CEO Shantel Krebs, a former South Dakota secretary of state who does not take a salary, contends the Miss America organization is “committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

She said the event has been at “the center of social issues” over the past 100 years, noting winners have taken on causes including HIV/AIDS awareness and the scourge of opioid abuse. But Mifflin notes the modernization of the competition has happened “well behind the broader culture in terms of women’s progress.”

It wasn’t until 2018 that the judging on physical appearance was eliminated, with the help of Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson, who stepped down as board chair in 2019, was part of an all-female leadership team that took over following an email scandal in which male leaders insulted former Miss Americas, denigrating their appearance, intelligence and even their sex lives. While some welcomed the changes as a way to make the event more relevant, many state organizations rebelled against the new leadership team.

“I say in the book that it’s always been in dialogue with feminism, but behind feminism,” Mifflin said of the Miss America competition. “So it always seems like it’s trying to catch up.”

Dunlap, the seventh Black Miss America, believes the competition — which she has no problem calling a pageant — needs to become more diverse in order to remain relevant. She noted, for example, there have been no winners of Hispanic origin.

She said more needs to be done to help young women of color get involved at the local level, such as helping them cover the high costs of participating — including developing their talents and buying gowns — so they can pursue the same life-changing opportunities.

This year, the nonprofit organization — run by an ardent group of volunteers at the national, state and local levels — announced the top scholarship awarded at the Dec. 16 finale will double to $100,000. The change was made possible by a donation from Miss America 1996 Shawntel Smith Wuerch and her husband Ryan Wuerch. According to the organization, a total of $435,500 in scholarship money will be distributed in this year’s competition, while more than $5 million is awarded annually through national, state and local programs.

Dunlap hopes that instead of looking for what she calls an “it girl” who can attract hits on social media, the Miss America organization in the coming years focuses on the promoting the “longevity of the organization.” Krebs says organizers are doing just that, noting the number of annual participants increased from about 5,000 to 6,500 after the 2018 changes.

“I just feel like there’s mixed messaging on whether or not you can be beautiful and attractive and also still be intelligent. And I just think that’s silly to me,” Dunlap said. “It’s like women can only do one thing, so pick a side. And that’s not true.”

It’s unclear if the decision to move the competition online says more about the fate of broadcast television than Miss America. NBCUniversal Media has been bullish about its streaming service and Krebs insisted the move to streaming was the organization’s decision and it had nothing to do with viewership numbers.

In 2019, the Miss America finale on NBC drew 3.6 million viewers, an all-time low. In contrast, the 1954 competition attracted 27 million viewers when there was much less competition for eyeballs.

“If you say you want to be around the next 100 years, we absolutely had the desire to be streamed because that is where our future is,” Krebs said, noting how younger people — and keep in mind, Miss America contestants must be between the ages of 17 and 25 — are less likely to have access to broadcast television.

Some fear moving online may spell the downfall of what’s often dubbed “the first reality TV show,” which started airing live in 1954.

“We have witnessed the demise of a historic event that helped shape Americans’ lifetimes,” one fan proclaimed on Facebook. Another agreed with Krebs, predicting “the audience we can reach is greater than ever now!”

Yet another fan, still upset the event is no longer in Atlantic City — it moved to a Connecticut casino in 2019 — wrote: “Unfortunately after 100 years it seems to have run its course.”

Asia Society Calls For Art Addressing Climate Change As Part Of New Awards

Responding to the urgency of accelerating climate change, Asia Society and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation are launching the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards, which will recognize visual artists currently enrolled in or recently graduated from MFA programs in the United States whose work directly addresses the climate crisis. Organized in collaboration with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Gallery of Art, and The Phillips Collection, the award is designed to foster climate change awareness through the imagination and insights of an upcoming generation of visual artists. The Environmental Defense Fund will join these cultural institutions to share expertise and propagate the award in the environmental advocacy community.

Through an open call launching on January 10, 2022, the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards will be conferred to three winning artists, selected by a jury comprised of leaders from the collaborating institutions. Each artist will receive $15,000 and be honored in April 2022 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The awards have been organized in conjunction with COAL + ICE, an immersive exhibition featuring more than 40 documentary photographers and video artists from around the world, that seeks to visualize the climate crisis. COAL + ICE will be on view at the Kennedy Center from March 15 through April 22, 2022.

“Building on the Foundation’s recent Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, which supports U.S. art museums in mitigating their own environmental impacts, the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards seeks to raise further awareness by recognizing artists whose work sheds light on and responds to the climate crisis. We are pleased to be partnering with Asia Society in the creation of these new awards,” said Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Smith.

“A new generation is bringing fresh perspectives to our global response to climate change and we look forward to discovering what young emerging artists, whose lives are inextricably enmeshed with the climate crisis, have to say about this pivotal issue for humanity,” said Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, who spearheaded the COAL + ICE exhibition.

Speaking on behalf of the collaborating organizations and the jury, Dorothy Kosinski, Vradenburg Director & CEO of The Phillips Collection, said, “The importance of this topic is reflected in how our institutions have come together to spotlight a new generation of artists tackling the climate crisis. Climate awareness is among our most consequential priorities as cultural institutions working today.”

Starting January 10, 2022, eligible artists and collectives will be invited to submit video artworks (e.g. digital video art, animation, film) or videos about visual artworks (e.g. documentation of tactile artworks, such as sculptures or paintings, or performance works) that tackle the climate change emergency via an online portal at climateartawards.org. Videos must not be longer than 5 minutes. Applicants must be either currently enrolled in a U.S.-based fine/visual art MFA program or will have graduated from such a program in the past 5 years. They must reside in the United States, with the exception of students currently enrolled in U.S.-based programs but pursuing their studies remotely due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

A shortlist of finalist artists will be released in February, and their videos will be made accessible online at climateartawards.org. The shortlisted videos will also be displayed on a dedicated channel and as featured selections on the homepage of ikonoTV, the global art media aggregator. The three winners will then be selected from among the finalists by a jury comprised of leaders from four of the collaborating institutions: Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Molly Donovan, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Art; Dorothy Kosinski, Vrandenburg Director & CEO, The Phillips Collection; and Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe, Vice President for Global Artistic Programs at Asia Society and Director of Asia Society Museum, New York.

Further details of the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards, including application guidelines, may be found at climateartawards.org and on Instagram.
@ClimateArtAwards. #ClimateArtAwards #ArtForClimateAction

Strategic and operational support provided by András Szántó LLC.

András Szántó LLC assists museums, cultural organizations, commercial brands, foundations, and educational institutions worldwide in all phases of the conceptualization and implementation of cultural initiatives, from strategy to execution to the creation of exceptional content.

Sundaram Tagore Gallery Presents Ghiora Aharoni

Sundaram Tagore Gallery is presenting a sculpture, photography and installations by Israeli-born American artist Ghiora Aharoni. The New York-based artist examines complex dualities—from the intersection of religion and science, to the intertwined relationships among seemingly disparate cultures. The Ghau Series is on view at Sundaram Tagore Madison Avenue, at 82nd Street, in New York City through October 2.

Aharoni’s work is also on view at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. through April 2022. The exhibition, which explores the metaphysical relationship between text and textiles, is part of a year-long collaboration with the museum, along with a research residency, academic seminars, public programs and another exhibition later this year.  Ghiora Aharoni’s sculptural media installation Make Me a Temple Within (The Ghau Series) comprises a collection of vintage portable Buddhist shrines—or ghaus—retrofitted with small video screens.
Born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1969, Aharoni grew up in a home full of diverse cultures and languages. He was introduced to the central texts of Jewish mysticism at an early age, which he incorporates into his work in abstract and literal ways. He often merges sacred texts of different faiths with traditional objects, such as vintage glass beakers and nineteenth-century Torah finials. By combining these texts and cultural artifacts and imbuing them with new meaning, Aharoni invites us to expand our perceptions of how cultures, religions and genders are interwoven.

Aharoni has exhibited his work widely, including at the Rubin Museum, New York, the Jewish Museum Vienna, the Museum of Contemporary Art, London and Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly The Victoria & Albert Museum), Mumbai. His work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, among others.

Replacing the traditional glass meant to encase a sacred object, the screen displays a video montage the artist created of Buddhist monks prostrating as they circumambulate pilgrimage sites. The video is interwoven with ambient sound and other devotional rituals. It plays in a continuous loop, echoing the peaceful, meditative quality of the circumambulation.  The series title was inspired by a phrase in the Hebrew Bible: “Make me a temple so I will dwell inside you.” Rather than suggesting a physical structure, it is an invocation to manifest  spiritual energy within oneself.

“The series celebrates the intimate relationship between the individual and the divine in public devotional rituals, where the realms of the personal and the public unite in a transcendent spiritual energy,” Aharoni says. Aharoni’s work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, The Vatican Library, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, among others. His work has been widely exhibited, including at the Rubin Museum, New York, the Jewish Museum Vienna and the Museum of Contemporary Art, London.

Navatman Presents Drive East 2021, An Indian Dance and Music Festival

Navatman completes one decade of Drive East, a festival that brings various artists of different Indian performing arts genres into the most ambitious—and lauded—congregations of Indian classical music and dance outside of India. In this tenth year of the festival, Drive East delves deep to understand ‘What it actually means to be a conscious artist’. We will be hosting 14 performances that showcase the diverse arts of India and the diaspora, from BharataNatyam inspired by 21st century novels to Carnatic theater in the tradition of Shakespearean plays, and from veena to sufi vocals to piano.

Drive East 2021 will be held in a hybrid format blending live theater with an online broadcast to allow for a global artist line-up and audience amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists evolve as we move forward in our careers; this year, we ask our artists to consider what it means to be a “conscious artist.” There is no universal answer, as each artist focuses on a myriad of aspects related to their performing art, such as sharing their choreography process to new artists, preserving lineage and traditions, opening up traditions that are normally closed off. What is consistent, however, is that conscious artists are always thinking about how they will impact the field around them, and why their contribution to the tradition of the form is valuable. Drive East 2021 explores what becoming a conscious artist looks like, poses myriad questions of artists and audiences, and explores the many paths artists can take to distill the vision of growth and sustainability into action. (Pictured above: KalaisanKalaichelvan.

Some of the highlights include Mumbai-based VaibhavArekar, one of the leading male BharataNatyam soloists today, who will be presenting “Upanishads.” New York based Michael Harrison, a composer and pianist who performs original and traditional North Indian classical music on the piano. Harrison earned international recognition when “Revelation,” his 75-minute work for piano, was selected as one of the Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New York Times, The Boston Globe and TimeOut New York, and “Just Constellations” was selected in NPR’s Best 100 SONGS OF 2020.

Harrison will be accompanied by the dynamic tabla artist Nittin Mitta, whose tabla playing is featured in Oscar award-winning short films and who has joined forces with Grammy nominated Indian and Western artists. Bay Area-based premier Odissi institution and company Guru Shradha, established by NiharikaMohanty, a disciple of the legendary Padma Vibhushan KelucharanMohapatra, from whose blessing Guru Shadha was born. A number of rare art forms are featured at Drive East this year, including concerts by Palo Alto-based GuhanVenkataraman accompanied by his brother VigneshVenkataraman, who will present the veena, a highly specialized musical art form performed by a select group of artists around the world.

The Chennai based Madras Players, the old English theater company in India with a track record of 220+ productions over 65 years, have been among the pioneers in showcasing Indian writing on stage. Here, they will present “Trinity,” a first-of-its kind musical play that leverages live Carnatic music to weave a story about three legendary music composers: Saint Thyagaraja, MuthuswamiDikshitar and ShyamaSastri. Arjun T.V. and team, based in Kerala, India, will take audiences into the rare world of kalaripayattu martial arts, while narrating the history of the form along with contemporary significance and showing martial arts choreographies involving various weapons.

Additional artists and performers for Drive East include: BharataNatyam solo by AishwaryaBalasubramanian (New Hampshire), sufi vocals by Sarvpreet Singh (Mumbai), a BharataNatyam group performance by Navatman Dance Company (New York City), a Koodiyattam solo by KalamandalamPrasanthi (Kerala), BharataNatyam solo by KalaisanKalaichelvan (Canada), sitar by RishabRikhiram Sharma (New York City), and BharataNatyam drama by Ganesh Vasudeva & Dancers (San Francisco), and Hindustani vocals showcasing Rabindrasangeet by SmitaGuha and team (New York City). Drive East is produced through Navatman, Inc. inpartnership with APEtech.

Navatman, Inc., led by Co- Artistic Directors Sridhar Shanmugam and SahasraSambamoorthi, is a performing arts organization that empowers the individual to nurture his or her personal evolution through interactions with the Indian classical arts. Founded with an eye towards creating a home for the Indian classical performing arts in NYC, Navatman is best known for our Manhattan-based and online classes, critically acclaimed productions, dynamic dance company, stellar music ensemble, multi-year live and online Mahabharata production, and Drive East – a week long collaborative festival celebrating our mission.

Co-Director Sridhar Shanmugam received training at the Kalakshetra School of Dance — one of the most prestigious schools of dance in India — and his later training in Rangoli painting, modern and post-modern dance, acting, choreography, stage lighting, theatre and stage technique. For many years he toured internationally as the legendary dancer choreographer Chandralekha’s primary male artist and later worked with such famous artists as Pina Bausch, Suzanna Linke, Philip Glass and countless others, earning awards and accolades from the governments of India, Great Britain and Italy. He has taught extensively and conducted workshops at several leading institutions including Columbia University, New York University and the Brooklyn Museum of Arts.

He maintains relationships with many of the top arts foundations such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center by serving on their boards and panels. As choreographer, teacher, dancer and director, Co-Director SahasraSambamoorthi’s experience being born and raised in the diaspora only serves to widen her ability to connect with both Indian and non-Indian audiences. She has earned accolades and scholarships from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts Folk Arts Apprenticeship, and is seen by many as a trailblazer forging a new understanding of South Asian arts in the United States. Sambamoorthi is the artistic director of Navatman Dance, an internationally touring Indian classical dance company Celebrating Indian Culture, Miss/Mrs/Teen India USA Held IN New Jersey

Nataraj Sharma’s Travel Log On Exhibition At Aicon Gallery In NYC

Aicon Art New York is presenting Travel Log, a recent solo exhibition by a stalwart of Indian contemporary art Nataraj Sharma, his second solo exhibition in North America and his first in New York in over a decade.

The exhibition is comprised of monumental canvases that document Sharma’s travels around India and its vicinity, exploring the relationships between urbanization, landscapes and the human presence at the interstices of modernity. Sharma is constantly expanding and evolving these images so that they add new connotations and dimensions to that which was already familiar. We sincerely hope you can join us at the opening reception.

The Opening Reception is planned for Saturday, June 12 | 1:00 – 7:00 pm. An in-person opening reception at the gallery, and for those who want to attend, please schedule an appointment if you or anyone you are in regular contact with, has compromised health at this time.

Affan Baghpati’s Solo Exhibition, Anatomy Of A Horny Heart In New York

Aicon Contemporary in New York is presenting an exhibition of works by Affan Baghpati starting on May 1st, 2021. Affan Baghpati’s work has been described by Arushi Vats, distinguished contemporary art writer, who states, “In Affan Baghpati’s ‘objets terrible’-hybrid assemblages of metal, stone, plastic that stir memories and invite interpretations-the order which governs human sensing is profoundly troubled…These admixtures trick the eye into a search for convention as domestic objects, popular keepsakes, and memorabilia are encountered; then swiftly denies it such appeasement.”

In Affan Baghpati’s “objets terrible”—hybrid assemblages of metal, stone, plastic that stir memories and invite interpretations—the order which governs human sensing is profoundly troubled. Anatomies are disassembled as the plastic limbs of a doll are affixed to a metal dani (container) sprouting the head of a European composer, a small foetus emblem is bezeled on the side. Disparate parts of a constellation of unrelated yet proximate objects connect to make provisional the very notion of a stable whole. These admixtures trick the eye into a search for convention as domestic objects, popular keepsakes and memorabilia are encountered; then swiftly denies it such appeasement.

The composite is spliced to reveal divergent energies: a cat figurine looks sideways, quite literally, as its body is angulated, copper plates smoothening its messy innards; elsewhere the comforting figure of a pug is separated in two, connected by a glinting brass pipe. These are found objects, sourced by Baghpati from the local markets and tradespersons of Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, Gujrawala, Rawalpindi and Multan which makes these akin as commodities, things holding value, revolving in circuits of exchange. Yet these objects have tread variant paths, and are vehicles for distinct if not distant histories. A surmedani, a kohl container and applique, is a common if disused accoutrement in South Asian homes.

In Baghpati’s assemblages, you are as likely to encounter the elaborate head of a suramchi (the applique stick) carved with intricate patterns and symbols of national identity, as the opulent dani, the small pot that stores kohl or surma. A brass sarota (nutcracker) would rest in the paan dan (betel leaf box), often found in the hands of matriarchs such as Mumani in Ismat Chughtai’s short story Kallu, who is fastidiously cleaning it when a confrontation erupts.

Declining in usage and vanishing from material culture, these objects radiate a belated nostalgia, functional enough to not be saved as heirlooms, deeply entwined with the personality of their custodians. Baghpati remembers his grandmothers and their relationship with these objects, that enveloped within them many gestures, tehzeeb, dispositions of these women. It is the nature of traces to urge contact, a sabundani (soap box) implores you to bend forward and take a sniff; you can hear a snap in your head as you gaze upon a dog’s head attached to a brass clipper.

These objects enjoin with mass-produced “readymades” and European memorabilia to create humoredly, a statement on the asymmetrical networks of production, circulation and discarding that shape economies of consumption and waste: a doll manufactured in China is sold in Europe, and disposed to South Asia, where it blends with a “Made in Pakistan” surmedani, all this while travelling routes old and new, transforming in meaning and form.

Affan Baghpati is currently a lecturer at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. The artist is based in Karachi, Pakistan.  The exhibition is on view through May 29th. To view the works online, visit our exhibition exhibition page.

Art/CultureWorks By Indian Artists At Upcoming New York Auction Series

Over 750 objects from 5,000 years of art spanning all epochs and categories of Asian art from Chinese archaic bronzes through Japanese and Korean art to modern and contemporary Indian painting, will go under the hammer in a series of auctions at the Asian Art Week by auction house Christie’s in March in New York.

Of the seven auctions, at least three include Indian works of art, including a significant painting by the pioneer of Indian modernism Tyeb Mehta, titled ‘Confidant’ and painted in 1962 (estimated to fetch between Rs 4.34 crore – Rs 5.79 crore).

According to the auction house, important Gandharan sculptures from a private Japanese collection, including a magnificent 3rd to 4th-century gray schist figure of Buddha Shakyamuni among the highlights. “From rare huanghuali furniture to a collection of works by respected artist and teacher Benodebehari Mukherjee, treasures from every category of Asian art wait to be discovered.”

In the ‘South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art’ auction on March 17, early works of Tyeb Mehta (Confidant, 1962) and Francis Newton Souza (Family, 1946) are included. Also included are exceptional examples by modern masters Maqbool Fida Husain, Sayed Haider Raza and Narayan Shridhar Bendre. Also featured is a fine group of paintings by Krishen Khanna from the collection of Arthur and Lilly Banwell.

A diverse contemporary section includes impressive prints and a sculpture by Zarina, and significant works by the region’s most renowned practitioners like Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Ranjani Shettar, Jitish Kallat and Subodh Gupta, to name a few.

Part two of the same auction includes a significant collection of works by Benodebehari Mukherjee (1904-1980) from the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation. Ethereal landscapes by this pioneer of modern Indian art are complemented by a group of figurative works and nature studies representing every phase of his career. Particularly important are collages, sketches and prints from the final stage of his life, executed after the artist’s complete loss of eyesight.

On the same date, the ‘Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art’ sale will present 58 lots featuring works from across India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. Highlights include a rare Chola-period bronze figure of the Shaivite saint Sambandar and a well-published folio from the dispersed ‘Lambagraon’ Gita Govinda series attributed to the Kangra court artist Purkhu.

Christie’s also says that it continues to leverage digital tools to extend access to key bidding areas and provide global audiences with opportunities to view auctions.

The ‘South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art Online’ auction from March 4-18, also aims to “celebrate a wide variety of artistic practices from the South Asian subcontinent and its diaspora across the 20th and 21st centuries”, says Christie’s.

The online sale includes excellent modern works on paper by artists Maqbool Fida Husain, Francis Newton Souza, Manjit Bawa, Prabhakar Barwe and Jogen Chowdhury, alongside those by their mentors and pioneers of regional schools like Abdul Rahman Chughtai, Walter Langhammer, Nek Chand, Kamrul Hasan and Chittaprosad Bhattacharya. Rounding out the catalogue is a section of exceptional works by modern Pakistani artists and contemporary works by artists including Surendran Nair, Nilima Sheikh, Arpana Caur and Paresh Maity. (IANS)

Classical Musicians From India & North America Perform At The Chaar Prahar Indian Classical Music Festival For A Global Audience

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan USA, Sneh Arts, Kolkata Sitar School & Viewcy in association with the Consulate General of India & Dhwani Academy of Percussion Music presented the 2nd Annual Chaar Prahar Indian Classical Music Festival. Adapting to the challenges of the global pandemic, the festival was held online on November 29th & December 5th on the digital platform Viewcy, which enabled us to reach audiences in Asia, Europe & North America. The artist lineup included some of the most recognized names in Indian Classical music as well as rising stars. The concert was streamed in several time zones to accommodate audiences from around the world on both days. The festival was supported by our media partners : TV Asia, World BBTV, Radio Zindagi, Divya Bhaskar & The Indian EYE.

 

Viewers were treated to soul stirring music at this 2 day, 12 hour – festival, which featured 26 musicians from both the Hindustani & Carnatic styles of music. Community of artists & music lovers gathered to enjoy instrumentalists & vocalists from various gharanas (school of music) showcasing their talents & mastery on the sitar, tabla, sarod, esraj, santoor, violin, veena, mridangam, harmonium & vocals. The festival team was particularly enthusiastic about giving a platform to the younger generation of Indian American artists who work very hard to pursue this art form alongside those based in India.
Dignitaries from the music world & the community graced the occasion online to bestow their blessings, not only to the young artists, but also to the organizers for continuing this special initiative. The Consul General of India in New York Amb. Randhir Jaiswal & Deputy Consul General Amb. Shatrughna Sinha, who graced the occasion, appreciated the work & effort put into presenting the rich music of India through this festival. Bhavan Chairman, Dr. Navin C. Mehta, joined the festival on both days, commending the music community for coming together for such a special marathon of music. He was thrilled to see such a fantastic line up & engaging audiences that were enjoying this online festival.

There were countless comments of support & appreciation pouring in during the live streaming of the festival, which encouraged the artists & the organizers. Dibyarka Chatterjee wrote, “What a treat these past 6 hours have been! Congratulations once again to the organizers, not only for being able to continue the festival despite these trying circumstances, but for such a high-quality production. Deepest gratitude to all the performers for bringing light & joy into our homes!” Vineeta Khanna wrote, “Much gratitude to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sneh Arts, the brilliant artists & all the folks instrumental in making this event happen! You all are doing great service to the Arts!”

This year’s festival had a very special significance to the organizing team of Chaar Prahar, which consists of Minesh Patel, Managing Director of Bhavan USA, Indro Roy Choudhury, Bhavan Sitar guru & Director of Chaar Prahar Festival, and Sunny Thakkar, Founder of Sneh Arts.  It was dedicated to the former Executive Director of Bhavan USA, Shri Deepak Dave, who left this world too soon; it was his vision that motivated the team to continue this festival. It was also dedicated to one of the board members, Megha Bhouraskar’s father, Shri Digambar Bhouraskar. He was a long time Bhavan supporter & an ardent lover of Indian Classical Music. Long time vocal guru at Bhavan, Smt. Sanjukta Sen & her daughter Shruti Sen, performed the opening invocation for the festival.

The Chaar Prahar Music Festival team is extremely grateful to the artists, community partners, media partners, team members & everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this festival possible. They look forward to even more support from the musicians & music lovers so they can continue to present such special events & give a continuous platform to local talent. The team has announced that the next Chaar Prahar Festival will be in November 2021. More info on bhavanusa.viewcy.com