Indian art show in Poland a hit with the locals


By Surender Bhutani

Warsaw: For 10 weeks, a modern Indian art exhibition here wowed Polish artists and thousands of other visitors. It was the first extensive showcase of contemporary art from the country presented in Central and Eastern Europe in recent decades.

The venue was the famous National Gallery of Art, Zechenta, in the centre of the Polish capital for the show, “Generation in Transition”, where international artists are keen to display their works.

Thirty-four Indian artists came to the gallery and interacted with visitors, leaving the Poles visibly impressed.

“To me it was a pleasant surprise and I had to scratch my head time and again to understand the nuances of modern Indian art. You have to come to the gallery a few times before you grasp the nuances of deep-layered minds,” observed Boguslaw Zakrzewski, an Indophile and a former ambassador to Thailand, Portugal and Brazil.

“India of the 21st century, of course, offers a new interpretation of modernity. We have to remove the old lenses and realise that a new resurgent India is coming up and may soon catch up with the West.”

Among the notable artists whose works were displayed were Akshay Raj Singh Rathore, Arup Mathew Thomas, Nikhil Chopra, Sarnath Banerji, Gitanjali Rao, Ravi Agarwal, Parneet Soi, Tushar Joag, Bharat Sikka and Rakhi Peswani.

Some artists had to come early much before the opening to help the organisers arrange their pieces, paintings or photographs or ceramic designs.

For Indian Ambassador Monika Kapil Mohta, who till recently was the director of the Nehru Cultural Centre, London, the whole exhibition was a new vibration of modern India.

“India is now on the radar screen of modern societies of the West. Experiments are now the way of life, whether one likes them or not. We cannot stop the new breed of artists from experimenting with new themes. The success of the exhibition is self-evident as it has been generally appreciated by noted Polish critics and public,” she added.

The exhibition presented the artworks of a young generation of artists of Indian origin, living and working in India, as well as in Europe and the US. It had opened Sep 3 and concluded Sunday.

The show was purely a Polish initiative to design and exhibit. Director Hanna Wroblewska and curator Magda Kardasz took great pains to interact with painters, ceramic artists and photographers.

It was a massive plan to show the might of contemporary talent to the Polish masses who until now have been charmed by Indian exotica like Kamasutra and Bollywood.

The success of the exhibition has prompted the organisers to take this exhibition to few other Polish cities and neighbouring countries.