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Unraveling art and history

Unraveling art and history
Be ready to be walk through the walls of Indian history this Summer as the Pran Sabharwal Foundation (PSF) is organizing an exhibition displaying around 300 artworks on lithographs, wood engravings, steel plate engravings and other canvases, from colonial Indian times by artists such as William and Thomas Daniell, Solvyn, Mortimer Menpes and Dottor Ferrario at 1AQ on Mehrauli Road in the Capital from April 25 to May 17.

The Foundation, which strives to utilize art as a medium to highlight social issues, has yet again brought forth an exhibition capturing the close ties that art, history, culture and tradition. It will certainly be difficult to find out if man’s quest for great art helped in digging out history or if man’s interest in knowing his past helped in discovering great art. Since time immemorial, art and history have been woven together like silk and gold, coexisting and bringing beauty and meaning to one another.  

Works of art till date help in understanding the culture and lives of people of the time that they originate from and what we know of history helps us understand the significance of a particular piece of art, based on its times.

William and Thomas Daniell, Solvyn, Mortimer Menpes, Dottor Ferrario and many other artists accurately captured various Indian elements such as monuments, gods and goddesses, ways of worship, their observations of traditions and culture, glimpses from daily colonial life, various flora and fauna, starting from early nineteenth century, on lithographs, hand-colored lithographs, wood engravings and steel plate engravings.

It is interesting to note that the tradition and culture of India depicted in these works of art, more or less remain the same even after about 200 years. The monuments that are seen in these works are also very close to the original monuments that are present till date, telling us volumes about the effort that has gone into preserving them over a couple of centuries or even more.

These works, which were mainly done by British artists, represent India from a colonial point of view. The work of the common  people, or a day-to-day setting depicts the colony that India was all those years ago and it helps in understanding the traditions colonialism has given birth to and how they’ve been carried forward.

Through its dedication to promote art and highlight issues, Pran Sabharwal Foundation, is making a change in the lives of the underprivileged and disadvantaged- specially women. It had earlier hosted a play Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi, by Nadira Babbar, which focused on the plight of women in India. The play covered issues such as female foeticide, discrimination and gender inequality. PSF also partnered with National Commission for Women (NCW) and Amar Ujala Foundation to host the first-ever national symposium on empowerment of acid attack survivors, inaugurated by the Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh, in February 2015.

There could not have be a better place to organize this prestigious exhibition of art, history and culture than Delhi’s very own creatively inspiring space 1AQ. Located near the tall embodiment of history that is Qutub Minar, 1AQ is a forerunner in encouraging contemporary arts, visual arts, performing arts, with huge spaces to provide the perfect platform and the right intent to hold such culturally rich exhibitions. 

Where: 1AQ, Qutab Minar Roundabout, Mehrauli Road
When: April 25 to May 17
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