Urusvati, the ultimate paradise for art and music lovers : by Bipin Sharma
It was indubitably the perfect ‘Sunday’ one could have wished for as Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art at Madhuram, Sector 78, Village Shikohpur, Gurgaon hosted a Sufi musical concert in its premises on 30 November, 2014. Overlooking the majestic Aravallis and amidst the breathtaking Jasmine Gardens, the weather too could not have been more pleasant. Unlike Sunday events that witness a rather sluggish arrival of guests at the venue, this one was different as the place wore a packed look by 11.30 am.
Comprising a Museum of ancient folklore, and a large Art Gallery, Urusvati Art Centre is located at a distance of just 7 kms from Sohna Chowk, Gurgaon. Open 24X7 to visitors without any charge, the place has become a hot favourite for not just the art and music lovers, but also the corporate segment who love organizing their conferences, seminars, summits, conclaves and symposia’s in the Urusvati premises. A lot of alumni events too are organized here as organizers have a keen desire for the children to educate them through the richness of the Museum and the Art display works. Charges for organizing seminars or any sort of event are quite nominal.
The proceedings on 30 November at Urusvati began with Exhibition titled “The Winter Odyssey” getting inaugurated in the Art Gallery as per the time schedule. Not just the art connoisseur’s, but even those from other fields seemed wonderstruck viewing the diligence, the ingenious and the passion behind the Art Gallery. Displaying the works of some of the country’s top ranked artists, the exhibition will be open daily from 10:00 to 5:00 pm. at the Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art.
Following the art exhibition inauguration, the musical concert commenced with an enchanting Sufi Vocal performance by one of the country’s finest young artist Ragini Rainu ensued by an equally enthralling Santoor Recital performance by maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori. The concert was a perfect amalgamation of symphony, exuberance and zeal. Such captivating was the concert, that the guests didn’t bother to make a beeline towards the food and the snacks counter till the concert was finally over.
After the concert, the guests hit the food and the snacks counter to savour a variety of scrumptious delicacies, and rejuvenated themselves by taking long strolls all along the stunning greens, the terracotta garden, and the artist rooms and the camp.
Pankaj Gera, a senior corporate executive remarked, “Urusvati is a perfect getaway retreat for Delhiites and those in the adjoining areas as it enables them to unwind them amidst the most tranquil surroundings and ambience. The one distinctive facet about Urusvati Art Centre has been its impeccable track of hosting astounding events and cultural activities on a regular basis. Kudos to the brains behind the place!”
“Urusvati Art Centre and the Museum that came into existence in 2003 are run by the Urusvati Trust that was registered in 1995. The aims and objectives include encouraging the understanding of Art and Culture among the public, especially children through its activities. The word “Urusvati” means “The light of the morning star”, and it draws inspiration from the Himalayan Institute called “Urusvati”, established by the famous Russian painter, the late Nicholas Roerich who came to India in 1923, and spent rest of his life at Naggar, in District Kullu in Himachal Pradesh.
The Museum displays the Folklore of North India through dioramas and paintings by eminent artists. Arts and crafts of various states are also on display through interesting story forms. There are Art Galleries displaying works of established and emerging artists. The Art Centre and the Museum is located in a Campus of about six acres in the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills. The Centre has facilities for demonstrating and teaching school children the different traditional Indian crafts like Tie and Dye, pottery, painting, clay modelling, etc. The Art Centre and the Museum is an educative experience for young and senior students when they visit the campus. It also provides them an opportunity that is “hands on”, under the supervision of Masters in various Art forms.
The Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art has taken many steps towards creating awareness for art. The Urusvati Museum of Folklore sponsored by the Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art, New Delhi received, funding from the Ford Foundation for establishing the Museum. The aim of the Museum is to preserve document and increase public access to the tangible and intangible culture of the country. The Museum has widely covered seven Northern and Central States – Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The permanent display in the museum gallery forms a nucleus exhibition displaying folklore in narrative form. The Museum of Folk lore and Folk Arts forms a centre of interest for children and local people who visit the Museum frequently.
The Museum also organizes activities like folk dances and classical music and dance evenings every month. These activities enable visitors to appreciate and reaffirm the brilliance and glory of the Indian cultural traditions. The Specific activities of the museum are
- To create awareness amongst the youth of the aesthetics and beauty in the traditional craft.
- To hold workshops with school children & teachers on a regular basis to familiarize them with the rich cultural fabric of the country. To date the Museum has held thirty workshops with school children. The activities which are taken up during the workshops encompass familiarization with the rich culture of the country vis-à-vis its folk art and folk music and dance, painting, and most importantly the rich folklore of various states.
- Interactive sessions with the students are arranged by the curators who also conduct quizzes, skits and play by the children. Space has been provided to young visitors to see and touch and use materials to create their own versions of stories thus engaging them in activities that help discover their inner potential, creative genius and also awareness of traditional culture. Special session with school children on Indian Archeological Monuments especially the World Heritage Sites with a special historical perspective have been conducted. These activities will be continued during the current year as part of the regular Programme.
- The Museum has, with the help of research scholars, set up a nucleus of information and researched material on Folklores of seven state of India.
THE PROMOTION OF FINE ARTS– PAINTING & SCULPTURE
Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art has organized a number of activities involving Artists, Sculptors & Folk Art painters. Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art has set up two large Art Galleries exhibiting works of well-established and upcoming young artists from all parts of the country. The element of space, air and nature is strongly present in the Art Galleries.
Several Art Exhibitions have been held by Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art beginning from the first Exhibition titled “Vision 95” that was held on 16.09.95 till 17.10.95 as the inaugural show. The response of the visitors to the exhibition was overwhelming.
The founder Director Komal Anand has had a long enduring interest in the rich Indian culture and legacy, and was previously Director General of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).