Gallery of Memories
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The ongoing diamond jubilee exhibition at the Government College of Art documents the historical and artistic artscape of the last 60 years
The date was August 16, 1951. After the Partition in 1947, Mayo School of Art was also bifurcated into two — one part of the school was left in Pakistan, now known as National College of Art, Lahore; the other part was set up in Shimla, then the capital of Punjab. The school was given a new name, Government School of Art and Craft, Punjab. Artists Satish Gujral and SL Parasher were instrumental in establishing the school, after long negotiations with the government. Stories such as this will take you down memory lane, as you view the 120 works of art of former principals, senior faculty of the Government College of Art since 1951, and works by veteran artists that are part of the exhibition titled "The Diamond Jubilee Exhibition" at the Government College of Art. "The school shifted to Chandigarh from Shimla in 1960," says DS Kapoor, the current principal of the college.
As a tribute to Parasher, the first principal and founding member of the college, the exhibition gallery has been name SL Parasher Art Gallery, with old photographs dating back to 1951 giving art lovers a glimpse into the college's creative journey of the last 60 years.
The exhibition is a retrospective, comprising works of artists like Satish Gujral, PN Mago, Baldev Raj Rattan, Kanwal Nain, AC Gautam, Surnimal Chaterjee, PR Trivedi and NK Dey. They were also illustrious teachers whom Parasher got together for the new college. "The gallery and the exhibition are a tribute to these men and women, who against all odds realised a dream for art's sake," reminisces Kapoor.
The exhibition display begins with the work titled Mahunag. The oil on hardboard by SL Parasher has a play of colours and light, as the artist creates a peacock at an angle which reflects the bird's beauty without its famed open feathers. Next is Satish Gujral's (senior faculty here from 1952-54) famous work Wait — the oil on canvas depicts layers of emotions on the faces of two men, as the third's face is covered in black. The creases on their garments tell another story. One of the striking works is the watercolour on paper titled Under the Yellow. In this, Sushil Sarkar, who was the principal from '59 to '75, captures the beauty of a landscape and two women. Prem Nath Mago's oil on canvas, Farwell, depicts a village scene, where men are ready to leave for war. AC Gautam's Langhur is worth spending a few minutes on. Equally poignant is Kanwal Nain Kotra's Daughter. This is a portrait within a portrait, as Kotra paints the daughter as a baby and a young woman.
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