Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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16.07.2014

The opening of the new display in the IRMT

Opening of a new exposition

July 12, 2014, a new exposition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was inaugurated in the Roerichs’ Memorial Estate in the Kullu valley (India). It was a result of cooperation between the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) and the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT). “It is noteworthy that the exposition devoted to the Roerich Pact opens today in Naggar, in the Estate, where a great Russian artist Nicholas Roerich lived with his family for about 20 years,” – with these words Mrs. Larisa V. Surgina, Russian Curator of the Trust and employee of the ICR started the opening ceremony. “Here, a draft of the Roerich Pact was worked out. It was from here, from the sacred Himalayas that the calls of need to preserve and protect Culture as the main pillar of the future evolution of humanity, as the only panacea for peace in the world went to all corners of the world”.

The exhibits, including archival and contemporary photographs, reproductions on canvas of Nicholas Roerich’s paintings and bright information banners were prepared by the ICR employees specially for the two halls of the memorial building of the Biochemical Laboratory of the Urusvati Institute. A rotating globe exhibited in one of the halls with miniature flags fixed on it marking the mountain summits, cities and countries of our planet where the Banner of Peace was raised – a symbol of the first international treaty on the protection of cultural property known as the Roerich Pact – became the leitmotif of the exposition. The exhibits of the hall reveal the main idea of the Pact, its history and relevance in the modern world.

India, with its great culture and spiritual refinement, became one of the first countries to respond to Nicholas Roerich’s appeal about the need to protect cultural treasures. The exposition in the Small Hall is devoted to India's role in the promotion of the Roerich Pact. Prominent Indians such as Rabindranath Tagore, Dr. J.C. Bose, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, C.V. Raman and many others enthusiastically supported Nicholas Roerich’s idea. “Roerich – our leader – has opened a new chapter in the human history by launching the movement of the Pact and Banner of Peace," – wrote eminent Indian writer Swami Jagadishwarananda in his letter to the Convention of the Banner of Peace.

Ancient monuments of India, its shrines and forts, monasteries and temples impressing with their grandeur and beauty are presented in the photographs in the hall and in the reproductions of Nicholas Roerich’s paintings, which have inspired the Urusvati exhibition space and integrated it into a coherent whole.

“I visited this building about a month ago and saw the condition of the hall,” -- said Mr. Rakesh Kanwar, Deputy Commissioner of Kullu and Director of the International Roerich Memorial Trust, – “Only by joint efforts in such a short period of time it was possible to create such a wonderful exposition”. Mr. Kanwar congratulated the Russian and Indian staff of the Trust with remarkable results and expressed confidence that the joint fruitful work on the development of the International Roerich Memorial Trust in compliance with the Agreement of Cooperation between the IRMT and the ICR executed on 2 October 2012 will turn the IRMT into a center of culture, science and art. Mr. Kanwar expressed special gratitude to Director General of the ICR, Mrs. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova. “I visited the International Centre of the Roerichs with the delegation of the IRMT Management in October 2012 and met Mrs. Shaposhnikova. Her heroic work deserves utmost respect. She is an amazing person, a true scholar and ascetic who continues the work of the Roerichs by strengthening friendship and cooperation between India and Russia.”

Mrs. Larisa V. SurginaMr. Rakesh KanwarMr. Alexander Losyukov

In his turn, the President of the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Roerichs’ Heritage Preservation Committee, Mr. Alexander Losyukov, cordially thanked the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister of the State, Mr. Virbhadra Singh, and personally Mr. Rakesh Kanwar for fruitful cooperation. The President expressed his gratitude to the Embassy of India in Moscow whose staff altruistically translated into Hindi all information texts and labels for the exposition.

Mr. Ramesh Chander

Mr. Losyukov stressed the importance of the new exposition for the IRMT. India became one of the first countries which deeply realized the value of the Roerich Pact for the future. “I keenly followed your great humanitarian work for the benefit of all peoples for whom your Peace Pact with its Banner for the protection of all cultural treasures will be an extremely powerful symbol,” – the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote to Nicholas Roerich. – “<...> I feel deeply that it will have huge effect for cultural understanding among peoples”. The ICR President noted that the parallel exhibition of the ICR "The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was launched July 7, 2014 in the capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, and will travel to several cities of India underscoring the importance of fulfillment of Nicholas Roerich’s ideas.

The ceremony continued on the open stage among pines and Himalayan deodars, where lots of friends of the IRMT and followers of the great Roerich family gathered together. Mr. Ramesh Chander, Indian Curator of the IRMT, congratulated the guests with the opening of the new exposition. Mr. Chander said that it was an appeal to the people of different nationalities and countries, and numerous visitors and guests of the IRMT to realize the greatest value of Culture and join their voices, aspirations and actions for the protection of cultural property under the Banner of Peace, the Banner of Culture.

Awarding of the Children’s painting Contest winners

The time of the exposition opening coincided with the reward distribution ceremony to the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts (for Children) – the winners of the 1st stage of the International Children's Contest “The Colour and Sound of Nicholas Roerich’s Realm” organized jointly by the International Roerich Memorial Trust and the St. Petersburg Branch of the ICR. The best paintings by Indian children on the topic "Discovering Roerich, Discovering the world" dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Nicholas Roerich were solemnly handed to the ICR delegation to be taken to Russia for participation in the final 2nd stage of the Russian-Indian contest.

In continuation of the cultural program, after prayers to the goddess of art and knowledge, Saraswati, conducted by the students and teachers of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts (for Children), some locals performed classical Indian dances and songs. How particularly touching and sublime sounded Indian renditions of the Russian songs “Sunshine circle” and “Young Cossack Walks by the Don River”!

The popular traditional dance of the Kullu valley “Nati” was the final and fiery chord of the cultural programme. Having started on the stage by a dance group, it continued on the ground in front of the stage when Indian and Russian guests of the Himalayan Roerich Estate in Naggar joined it with joy and excitement.

On this solemn day the unity of Russia and India was felt in the very atmosphere of the fest. It sounded in all the speeches and musical performances. "India is not a foreign land, but a sister to Russia" – often repeated Nicholas Roerich. Maybe that is why the idea of ​​the Pact, which originated in Russia and passed through different countries and continents, found response in India and has since then been present in the hearts and minds of Indian people.


Saraswati prayerExcursion by Mr. Areg Mekhakyan, the ICR employee
Students of the Art Academy (for Children) are dancingSunshine circle
Nati - traditional danceNati - traditional dance

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