Painting Portraits is a passion for Painter Murgod

Bhimrao Murgod has a passion for portraits  from Veerappan to Mother Theresa.  Murgod has painted them all.  An exhibition of portraits and miniatures exhibition of  portraits and miniatures by him was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Shri I.K. Gujral.  (See inside front cover) Murgod said he picked up the passion for portrait from his father.   When Bhimrao was only a child.  He saw that visitors to his house always looked at and appreciated the portrait of B.N Ambedkar, which had been autographed.  Since then he made it a point to always get the portrait autographed, except in rare cases.  The long list of VIPs who posed for Murgod include Bill Clinton, Vladimir Puntin, Rajiv Gandhi, Shankar Dayal Sharma and Atal Behari Vajpayee.  He has painted Carl Lewis by just observing him come and go out of lift, when he was on a visit to Delhi.

  Painting is just one of Murgod’s interest.  He is an actor and has worked in stage and cinema with senior and well-known directors.  He demonstrated his talent in music by playing flute at the inauguration.

Along with portraits, on display were miniature painting done on buttons, ivory pieces and the moist attractive of all finger nails.  Murgod has painted the Seven Wonders of the World in his specially grown thumbnail.  He has a collection of over 450 portraits.  His painting of Jimmy Carter adorns the walls of White House and some of his works occupy pride of place in Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhawan.


Rhythm and Beauty

a lens view of KOMALA VARDHAN

The art of photography has emerged as a powerful medium of creativity on par with painting and sculpture.  IGNCA has always believed in this and in order to promote photographic art has held several exhibitions of works of gifted photographers.  In that, the exhibition of photographs by Mrs. Komala Vardhan was unique.  Mrs. Komala Vardhan is an acclaimed dancer.  Her photographs unveiled yet another aspect of her creativity.  She has traveled extensively and the cameras obviously has been her constant companion.  The dancer in her has guided her camera to catch all the bhangas (deflection of body) as well as tillana (Variety of sculptural poses) in her photographs.  Mrs. Komala Vardhan understands and generously displays the interdisciplinary application.  Rhythm has found a new place in her photography.

The exhibition was inaugurated on February 6, by Home Minister L.K. Advani, Commenting about the title of the exhibition, Shri Advani said it is in the eater culture that we see beauty in rhythm and vice versa.  In fact, they are the two sides of the eternal Truth, he said.  Shri Advani is the first Home Minister ever to visit IGNCA.  Mrs. Komala Varadhan’s photographs cover a vast range of subjects such as nature, people, places, monuments etc.  Mrs. Komala Vardhan is also a painter and a prolific writer.  For her, photography is a symbolic language through which she could project her thoughts.  In a gesture of affection, Mrs. Komala Vardhan has gifted 50 of her photos to IGNCA.


An Exhibition of  Thankas

In the cool weeks of February IGNCA played host to rare thankas, so rare that they are out of Leh for the first time.  Thankas are Buddhist paintings, made by Lamas and worshipped by all Buddhists.  Thankas are also permanently hung in the corridors of monasteries or sometimes carried by devotees in religious processions.  The work thanks in Tibetan means anything that is rolled up.  The other name rasbris or rasrimo, rather uncommon, which means, ‘cotton’ or rasbris which signifies design on cotton, the emphasis being on the material used.  The world of thanks provides clue to the ritualistic, social, historical, iconographic, philosophic and astrological beliefs of the people of Tibet.

Thankas are colourful paintings made on coarse linen cloth.  The thick cloth-canvas is prepared with a mixture of glue and lime and is polished with shell.  The base thus prepared is made ready for painting.  The outlines of the figures are first traced in charcoal and strengthened with Chinese black or red ink.  The Lamas who are already familiar with the book description of Buddha and other deities draw the outline in a paper first, in accordance with precise prescribed measurements.  Once this line drawing is approved it is copies on the cloth.  The drawing starts from the head and moves downward.  It takes about 6-7 years of training to be able to paint thankas.  And in the initial years, junior lamas work under the supervision of experts.  The back of the painting, contains invocatory mantras, the Buddhist religious formula and sometimes stupa design and auspicious handprints of a lama.  After the completion of the thanka, pranapratistha (consecration ceremony) is performed.  Then the thanks becomes fit for worship.  Some of the thankas on display at the exhibition had become dark and dull because of constant burning of lamps and incense in front of them the thankas are the manifestations of the religious tenets and teachings.  They depict the esoteric symbols of Vajrayan.  Mantrayam, Kalacakrayana.  Buddha, Bodhisattvas and several other deities.

Reviews by Kumar Sanjay Jha, Kala Darsana