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IGNCA exhibition sheds light on Tagore’s enduring legacy: Exhibition on display till May 19

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The Conservation and Cultural Archives Division of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi recently hosted an exhibition and lecture commemorating Rabindra Jayanti. The exhibition, titled ‘The Rare Photographs of Rabindranath Tagore’ was curated by Shri Ganesh Narayan Singh. Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary of IGNCA, graced the event as a distinguished guest.

The seminar featured esteemed speakers including Dr. Fabien Chartier, Mr. Neelkamal Adak, and Mr. Basu Acharya, offering diverse perspectives on Tagore’s legacy. Prof. Achal Pandeya, HoD of Conservation and Archives, and Dr. Sanjay Jha, Archivist at IGNCA, were also in attendance. The exhibition will be on display until May 19th, 2024. 

Dr. Fabien Chartier delved into the topic ‘Tagore’s French Connection’, highlighting his 27-year dedication to studying Rabindranath Tagore. He emphasized Tagore’s reception in France, noting his gradual rise to prominence and eventual household recognition. Chartier traced Tagore’s journey in France, including his emotional response to visiting First World War battlefields, showcasing his deep humanity.

He also discussed Tagore’s reception in the West, mentioning Alexandra David Neel’s letters of recommendation. Chartier shed light on Tagore’s European tour, revealing that while he was widely accepted, there were deliberations that shaped perceptions of him. Subsequently, Chartier mentioned Victoria Ocampo’s efforts to teach French to Tagore. The other speakers, Shri Neelkamal Adak and Mr. Basu Acharya, discussed ‘Rabindranath Tagore: The Ultimate Flowering of an Artist’ and ‘Tagore’s Visit to France and its Impact’, respectively. 

In his address to the audience, Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi highlighted Tagore’s unique character, noting his significant act of returning the Knighthood following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a reflection of the spirit of Indian identity. While emphasizing Tagore’s international connections, he discussed the upcoming exhibition and said this exhibition will feature rare paintings and photographs from collections including those of Elizabeth Brunner, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Shambhu Saha, D.R.D. Wadia, and Kapila Vatsyayan, alongside IGNCA’s archival treasures. Dr. Joshi also shared a translated Hindi rendition of Tagore’s poem, ‘Pran’.

The ongoing exhibition showcases photographs from the rare collections of Elizabeth Brunner, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Shambhu Saha, D.R.D. Wadia, and Kapila Vatsyayan. It also features various themes, including ‘Santiniketan: Abode of Peace’, focusing on its outstanding universal value, ‘Tagore’s Ecological Habitation and Agricultural Pursuits’, exploring his environmental efforts, ‘Tagore and Gandhi’, delving into their relationship, and ‘Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and His French Odyssey’, highlighting his French connections.

The melodic essence of Rabindra Sangeet was brought to life by the captivating vocals of Mrs. Sulagna Banerjee. The event was anchored by Sadhish Sharma of the Conservation and Archives Division, and a formal ‘Vote of Thanks’ was given by Arijit Dutta.

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