Bridging yoga with past and present

New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) What happens when an artist is adrift on the Ganges searching for one’s soul? Radha Gomati’s video installation shows the transcendental experience where her soul embarks on a sublime journey.

The show is a part of the ‘Yoga Chakra, Tradition and Modernity’ multi-media exhibition at the Sangeet Natak Akademi here.

The ensemble, featuring nearly 400 works by over 150 artists from across India, including masterpieces, was on for a week from International Yoga Day June 21. Forty-one works of art on display were sourced from the National Museum here.

The exhibition is a journey through centuries of artistic expression and diverse interpretation on the traditional culture of yoga.

“The show includes antiquities selected and sourced from museums around the country as well as fresh commissions created by some of the contemporary artists. The project focuses on the philosophy and dynamics of Yoga as a way of life for an interface between mind, body and soul that continues to engage artists across cultures and eras,” project curator Sushama Bahal told IANS.

Kunal Kalra’s digital projection is a critical comment on modern day life and the disconnect with our inner selves. The image of the viewer is projected in an inverted form in the interactive digital projection. “I made this project especially for the exhibition. The idea is to allow the viewer to look within and search for inner peace. I am getting interesting responses on this,” Kalra told IANS.

Among other works, Dinesh Khanna’s images of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, Ajay Sharma’s ‘Wetness’, and Sadiya Kochar’s ‘Women at namaz in Kashmir’ throw a modern perspective on ancient Indian traditions and faiths.

There is no better way to represent urban chaos than the archival photographs in glass jars by Sandeep Biswas where the artist tried to show the conflict of inner-self through the entangled wire meshes in empty bottles. One also gets to see a few glimpses of Moghul-era works resonating to the theme of yoga in the exhibition. Spectacular tantra works by late G.R. Santosh were also a centre-piece.

The exhibition, divided into concepts of gyana, karma and bhakti yoga, has sourced works from 14 other collaborators besides the National Museum. One of the other major partners is the Museum of Sacred Art in Brussels, Belgium.

Among the classical works are an 11 B.C. crowned Buddha statue in bronze and a terracotta clay tablet with Buddha’s representation, believed to be from 9 B.C or 10 B.C. “You can’t talk about yoga without mentioning Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir,” said Bahl, who took three months to prepare the week-long exhibition.

For connoisseurs of modern art, there were treats from S H Raza, whose 2013 work, ‘Prem Bindu’, Anjali Ela Menon’s Christ and the late Jamini Roy’s Brown Christ and F.N. Souza’s Christ which are a worth watch.

On display was a 12 B.C. bronze statue of Buddha sitting cross-legged with hands in the gesture of meditation and a stone Pashupati seal from Mohenjodaro that is believed to be 4,500 years-old. “The Pashupati seal, depicting Lord Shiva, is the earliest evidence of a yogic posture,” said Bahl, who has co-curated the exhibition with Archana Sapra. “The classical artifacts helped us link the past with the present,” Bahl added.

The replica of the famous ‘Dancing Girl’ from Mohenjodaro was another huge draw at the exhibition.

–Indo Asian News Service

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