“Where there is Culture, there is Peace, Where there is Peace there is Culture”: Nicholas Roerich
Beauty of Mountain Kanchenjunga is eternal but it has come closer to the eyes of Gangtokians for two weeks. Finest works of Nicholas Roerich, a renowned Russian artist and his son Svetoslav Roerich will be on display at Rachna Books store in Gangtok.
The exhibition under title “Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich, painters of Kanchenjungha” started on 5th March and will carry on till 18th March.
Nicholas Roerich and his youngest son, Svetoslav are the epitomes of fine arts on “Himalayas”. Nicholas himself painted around 4000 paintings on this subject. Imagination of snow clad mountains and personifying them made Nicholas paintings distinct from others.
A man of immense talents, Nicholas Roerich was born in St. Petersburg in the year 1874. From his childhood he was interested in art, culture and history.
Nicholas always had a deep interest in oriental studies and philosophy. His paintings were so intense that Jawaharlal Nehru once pronounced him as a “creative genius”.
Fiorenza Bortolotti who is the co-ordinator at Darjeeling Goodwill Centre, organizer of this exhibition said “Nicholas always believed in worshiping the mountains. His love for Sikkim and Kanchnjunga was so immense that he carved Kanchenjunga on canvas just by his memories of it”.
In late 1923 Roerich’s arrived in India. On his arrival to India he stayed in a house “Talai-Pho-Brang” which belonged to XIII Dalai Lama. The Roerich travelled around west Sikkim, visiting old monasteries of Pemayangtse, Sangachling and Tashiding.
The first view of Kanchenjunga and the Himalayan peaks gave Nicholas such a strong impression that he started to incessantly paint the mountains. Between, 1924-25 he painted three series of canvas, as inspired by the beauty of places, their legends and the high spirituality.
On his famous work “Sikkim” which consists of 12 paintings Nicholas wrote: “this blessed country, full of reminders pf the illumined leaders of religions, leaves an impression of great calmness. Here lived Padma Sambava and Atisha, who proclaimed the teachings of Kalachakra”.
After traveling for more than 3 years he came back to Darjeeling and on the way crossed Gangtok. Here, he met Chogyal Tashi Namgyal who was highly inspired by his work.
To his credits, Nicholas Roerich is the brain behind the Roerich Pact of Culture. The purpose of this pact is to guard the art and culture along with monuments and artistic institution from the havoc of war and acts of barbarity.
Svetoslav Roerich, youngest son of Nicholas was equally talented. He was a botanist expert and was especially recognized as a fine portraitist and the landscape painter.
Svetoslav paintings are modern in nature with unique colour combinations. “His understanding of art was different from his father and that is evident from their paintings” says Fiorenza.
Svetoslav also founded the International Roerich Memorial Trust in Bangalore and the College of Fine Arts at the Bangalore University. He was married to a famous Indian actress Devika Rani.
Raman Shresta, owner of Rachna Books and art enthusiast himself asserted “These paintings are an integral part of the Himalayan History and culture which many people are not aware of. So, our idea is to reach out as many people as we can and showcase these beautiful paintings to them”.
Screening of movies on Roerich and his work will also be held in coming days as part of this exhibition. Schools and colleges in Gangtok have this opportunity to drop in and witness the marvelous paintings made by imagination and passion.