Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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Since April 28, 2017, the Non-Governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich went defunct with the illegal seizure of its building and territory.

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“Svetoslav Roerich and Devika Rani – Heralds of Beauty.” Spring Russian-Indian Festival of Culture in the Roerichs Estate

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The traditional Roerich Festival of Culture was held on April 30 – May 1 in the International Roerich Memorial Trust. The main characters of the festival were Svetoslav Roerich, the younger son of Elena and Nicholas Roerich, and Devika Rani, his beautiful Indian wife. And it was not a coincidence. The year of 2022 is a year of the 75-th anniversary of establishing diplomatic India-Russia relations; and marital, creative and spiritual union of the Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich and the talented Indian actress Devika Rani in truth became a symbol of Russian-Indian friendship, love and cooperation.

The main event of the festival was the inauguration of the sculptural composition in the Roerichs estate, dedicated to the outstanding couple. The first sculptures of Svetoslav Roerich and Devika Rani in India, made in full height, have been installed near the Svetoslav’s summer studio, which is a little beneath the Roerich’s memorial house. The author of the sculptures is a famous Ukrainian sculptor Aleksey Leonov. The cooperation with him started with the installation of the bronze busts of Nicholas and Helena Roerich in 2019. Thus today’s remarkable event has continued the Russian-India joint cultural project, initiated by the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow) and supported by the International Charitable Foundation the “Dialogue of Cultures – United World” (Moscow) and personally by its president Ruslan Bayramov, by the Russian Embassy in India, by numerous friends of the Roerich Trust, and also by the authorities of Himachal Pradesh state and district Kullu administration.

According to the Hindu tradition the festival started with shanti-puja, the prayer about peace and welfare which was performed by Pandit Dev Acharya, the priest from Krishna temple. Then there was a traditional ceremonial hoisting of Indian and Russian flags and Banner of Peace, after which the community representatives, local authorities, diplomats, journalists, the followers of the Roerich philosophy and creative work moved to the Svetoslav Roerich’s summer studio for the ceremonial opening of the sculptural composition.

The ensemble of the traditional Kullu instruments started playing music. The Indian curator of the IRMT Suresh Kumar and the Russian curator of the IRMT Larisa Surgina announced the ceremonial beginning. The honourable guests of the festival N.N.Cherkashina, the ICR Vice President, the director of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich (Moscow), Mikhail Ktitorov, the Councillor of Culture of Russian Embassy in India, Nandlal Katariya, the representative of Manali authorities, and Mrs Sarojini Thakur untied red ribbons and the whites coverings smoothly dropped on the ground. The composition as if alive appeared in front of the eyes of the guests: Svetoslav Roerich is holding brushes and paints, he is looking attentively at Devika Rani, his beloved wife and muse, and a beautiful image which soon will come to life in a vivid Devika’s portrait is arising in his heart...

The opening of the IV International Artistic Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings “Black and White” in the IRMT Exhibition Hall became an interesting event of the festival. The original works and reproductions of 29 artists from India, Malaysia, Turkey, Vietnam and Thailand, who are the members of creative associations “Artfort” (Chandigarh, India), “Verman Cultural Celebration” (Jammu, India), “Aswara” (Malaysia) and the International Artist Group (Turkey), were presented in the exposition.

The ceremonial program dedicated to Svetoslav Roerich and Devika Rani and to the 75-th anniversary of India-Russia diplomatic relations took place in the IRMT Green Theatre. There were a few speakers in front of the guests: the Councillor of Culture of Russian Embassy in India Mr Mikhail Ktitorov who delivered the greeting speech on behalf of Mr Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador in India; the Vice President of the International Centre of the Roerichs Mrs Natalia Cherkashina; Mrs Sarojini Thakur, the spouse of the lifelong IRMT trustee Mr Ashok Thakur; the Vice President of the International Committee on the preservation of the Roerichs Heritage Mr Anatoly Lebedenko.

Here on this stage there was a ceremonial reward of the winners of the Children Drawing Contest “Let Us Strive for Beauty”, which had taken place the day before, on April 30. The contest continued the International Festival of Children and Youth Creativity “Russia-India: From Heart to Heart”. The prizes and certificates were prepared in Moscow by the ICR volunteers headed by T.M.Merges and V.N.Tkachev.

The music program became a wonderful gift to the participants of the festival. It was prepared by the teachers of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children Anshul Kumar, Mamta Thakur, Anup Kumar and Sapna Thakur and the children from Naggar schools. The expressive songs were performed by Sailesh Bodh from Iarankelo and Om Prakash from Katrain. The students group from Montessori school from Kullu city performed a colourful Indian dance.

The festival in the Roerichs Estate became another bright celebration of Russian-Indian friendship and cooperation, the victory of beauty and culture.

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