THE Rock Garden and its surroundings came alive on canvases of young artists, as they paint live in the Phase 3 of Nek Chand’s labour of love. For the past few weeks, the Rock Garden, one of the most visited places in Chandigarh by people from across the world, is reverberating with not only tourist activity, but artistic and creative vibrancy. The Rock Garden Society opened the space to artists to give them a platform and also promote art and culture activities in Chandigarh
Anuj Saini, who is part of the Rock Garden Society, said: “My father, Nek Chand, envisioned the Rock Garden, his creation, as a place which would get people together, talk, have fun and get away from the daily grind of life. He wanted the garden to be a place for a big mela. With theatre productions, dance and music recitals every Sunday, the garden has a new energy and feel.
The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, apart from live painting demonstrations that it has been organising at the venue, is now planning to hold painting exhibitions and workshops too. On Sunday, painter Ravi Kiran will exhibit his works at the venue and also create portraits.
Bheem Malhotra, the chairperson of the Akademi, said: “The idea is to get people closer to art, encourage them to interact with artists outside gallery spaces and be a part of the process of art creation. People from different walks of life, cities and countries visit the garden and the response to the live painting has been tremendous. We will involve more young artists from the city to create and showcase their work here.’’
The Open Air Theatre in Phase 2, near the waterfall, has been thespian Neelam Mansingh’s chosen space to stage all her plays, with the ambience of the garden complementing the spirit of her productions. Now, the theatre will have a permanent lighting and sound system in place, so that theatre directors don’t have to hire equipment for staging a play.
According to Kuldeep Sharma, who is in charge of the new initiative, the society has invited Ashok Bhagat, an expert of lighting and professor of design at the National School of Drama, to help them create a performing art space that will be open to theatre groups of the city and country to regularly stage productions. The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi recently organised a kavi sammelan at the garden, with the next programme being a tribute to Shiv Kumar Batalvi.
Kathak dancer Shobha Koser especially choreographed a dance ballet, based on the love story of Radha and Krishna, keeping the surroundings of Rock Garden in mind, with 50 dancers presenting the love story through a performance. Koser is all set to present a series of dance programmes in the coming weeks.
“We have 6,000 people visiting the Rock Garden on weekends and we hope to build up a tempo with varied activities, with plans to open Saturdays events too,” said Sharma.