ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 44

Staying together, creating together

Some cities seem to have art in the very bones of their buildings, in the lines of their landscapes, and the faces of their people. That the glorious city of Jaisalmer in North India is one such place, made it the perfect venue for the official SAARC Summit art camp.

Thirty artists from eight SAARC countries spent two weeks together at the camp in January this year, and the result was “some wonderful interaction,” says Anoma, who along with artists Jagath Ravindra and Anup Vega represented Sri Lanka at the camp. Working with the theme ‘Art Unites,’ artists expressed and explored their solidarity through interactive paintings created by working and staying together.

Looking back Anoma reflects that “the whole idea was the coming together of these SAARC countries from the region…and that really happened, in a magical kind of way.”

Scattered across the corridors, rooms and even the tandoori corner of a gorgeous, but modern palace hotel, the artists created two works each for display at the exhibition. The final pieces were inspired not only by the breathtaking desert and forts of Jaisalmer, but also by the other participants’ creative styles. Artists discovered what it was like to paint in other countries – from Afghanistan where local artists were not allowed to paint by the Taliban to India itself, where wildly popular artists like Jatin Das, Shamshad Hussein, Harsha Vardhana were selling briskly.

Evening brought a round of cultural activities including lectures, classical music concerts, Kathak demonstrations, poetry reading and traditional folk singing by the Maanganiyars from the Rajasthan border. A trip into the desert astride a camel to take in the sunset made for a memorable conclusion.

The event was designed and conceived by SEHER for ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India and will be officially inaugurated on April 3 in Delhi by the SAARC heads of state present for the summit. From Delhi, the exhibition is then set to tour the capital cities of all the eight SAARC countries.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.