Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs


Festival of Children's and Youth creativity "Russia-India: from Heart to Heart" at the Roerich Estate


On October 5, 2023, the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT) hosted the International Children and Youth Festival of Russian-Indian Friendship “Russia-India: from Heart to Heart” organized by volunteers of the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR, Moscow) in close cooperation with the IRMT and its Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children. By this bright and joyful children's Festival, according to the established good tradition, the annual October Roerich Cultural Festival in the Roerich Estate begins. This year the Festival is dedicated to two remarkable dates - the 100th anniversary of the Roerich family's arrival in India and the 95th anniversary of their arrival in the Kullu Valley.

The first event of the day was the opening of painting exhibition by Indian and Russian children and youth - winners of this year's competition on the theme “Russia - India: in the vastness of beauty and friendship”. The exhibition presents about 40 works of young Indian artists - students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts, pupils of the Kullu Valley schools and the Shiv Nadar School (Noida, Delhi), as well as more than 80 works of young artists from 16 cities and towns of Russia. As always, the participants include Rabindranath Tagore School (St. Petersburg), N.K.Roerich School of Arts (Volosovo, Leningrad region), art schools and studios of Altai, Kemerovo region, Krasnodar, Kurgan, Zarechny cities and many others. A special place in the exhibition is occupied by creative works of students of the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design. Their paintings and drawings depict images of St. Petersburg - the northern Russian city, where the life journey of all members of the Roerich family began.

The exhibition was held in the halls of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts and filled the space with bright colors, a sense of purity and joy, unity and mutual understanding. Suresh Kumar, Indian Curator of IRMT, and Larisa Surgina, Russian Curator working at IRMT on direction from the ICR (Moscow), welcomed the guest of honor, retired Lieutenant Colonel Ms. Suchita and all the gathered guests, teachers, children and parents and thanked Russian friends for the wonderful exhibition. Volunteers of the ICR demonstrated a specially prepared presentation “Roerichs: The Indian Way” to the participants and guests of the Festival, and Tamara Merges, head of the volunteer group and coordinator of the Festival, gave a short tour of the exhibition.

The children's painting competition, the main event of the Festival, was held at the IRMT Green Theater. More than 80 schoolchildren from the Kullu Valley took part in it: students of the IRMT Children's Art Academy and pupils from Naggar, Kullu and Manali, as well as several Russian kids.

“Great India through the eyes of the Roerichs” - such a difficult but interesting theme was offered to the young artists. Children drew mountains and rivers, houses and temples, Indian symbols and traditions, trying to comprehend and see them as a person who loves, knows and deeply understands India might see them. The jury of the contest, which on the same day determined the winners, had a difficult choice to make - which means that the competition participants coped with their task. But the important thing is not even that. The main thing is that all those who gathered that day at the Roerichs' estate had an opportunity to touch the works of the great Russian family, to expand their knowledge about the Roerichs and Russian culture, and to be imbued with a sense of spiritual closeness and unity.

Another highlight of the Festival was the opening of Russian artist Elena Yakovleva's exhibition “The Sacred Kullu Valley and its People.” Ms. Suchita, who herself is an artist by vocation, solemnly cut the red ribbon, and before the eyes of children and adults appeared the picturesque Kullu valley with surrounding mountain peaks, ancient temples, festivals and, most importantly, its inhabitants. A leisurely conversation of elders over tea, traditional round dance “nati”, dancers in festive costumes - these simple subjects of the Kullu valley, depicted with warmth and love, aroused sincere interest of all present. And in the portraits of children, which made up a significant part of the exhibition, the younger visitors were delighted to recognize themselves and their friends.

The festive day ended with a game program prepared by the Russian guests. Russian moving games, master classes and contests have long been favorite with local children; they look forward to them and take part in them with pleasure. A Russian-Indian round dance to the rousing Russian "Kalinka" became the final chord of the holiday.

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