An exhibition of Vintage Miniature Paintings titled, ‘The story of Rama: Indian Miniatures from the National Museum, New Delhi’ opened in National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia on Thursday. The three-month show features 101 paintings done between the 17th and 19th centuries, and is the first major initiative under a recently-inked pact on culture between India and Australia.
National Museum Director-General and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Sanjiv Mittal, who was present at the function, expressed his country’s delight in sharing with the Australians the story of Ramayana. “It is one that transcends generations and is reflective of our rich and deep culture,” said Sanjiv Mittal .
The landmark agreement demonstrates India’s readiness to partner with countries and celebrate the arts, pointed out Indian High Commissioner to Australia Navdeep Suri. “We hope that all Australians enjoy these wonderful works of art that reveal one of my country’s most well-known stories,” he noted.
National Museum curator Dr Vijay Kumar Mathur, who has selected the 101 paintings in a chronological progression capturing the story of the Ramayana, revealed that the collection had been pooled in from India’s northern, central and eastern territories. “These miniatures are from schools such as Mughal, Deccan, Pahari, Rajasthan and Central India. They represent a matured movement that colourfully visualises the spirit of the Ramayana,” he noted, recalling that the 1949-founded NM had organised a Rama Katha exhibition in 2013, after which it travelled to Belgium.
The Director of National Gallery of Australia, Gerard Vaughan said the exhibition of “vibrant and exquisite Indian miniature paintings is important” for the Gallery. “It forms part of our commitment to share the art and rich cultural heritage of India with all Australians,” he added about the finely-detailed paintings featuring a rich diversity of regional styles—and selected from the collection of National Museum (NM) of over 17,000 miniatures, the largest in the world.
It was in November 2014 that the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture between Australia and India during a visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the continent-country.
The NGA exhibition will remain open till August 23, and entry is free for the public.