MF Husain’s Mother, a serigraph of a mother and a child, stands true to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of compassion. Another painting titled Babuji by artist Paresh Maity, has motifs associated with Gandhi — the charka and birds flying — around his portrait. Maity calls this project, “through art, for art”, where over 28 renowned Indian artists will raise money for the 9-feet tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square in London. A exhibition-cum-sale titled “Mahatma” at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Delhi today, is a fundraiser for the first statue of an Indian — someone who was not a Prime Minister or a President — in Parliament Square.
Created by British sculptor Philip Jackson, the statue has to be funded entirely by donations and is estimated at one million pounds. The show focuses on Gandhi and his philosophy through 30 works. Sunaina Anand, Director of Art Alive Gallery, who has curated this special show, says, “Gandhiji is a world figure, a philosophy and an idol, whom everyone across the world idolises. It is a proud moment for Indians, to see our leaders being honoured worldwide and is an inspiration to many.”
Lord Meghnad Desai, who started the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust to raise money for the sculpture, says, “The Parliament Square is clearly a place where India deserves a statue. Gandhi came to London before he turned 19 and trained as a barrister; he spent time there as a student. In fact, he kept coming back from South Africa to fight cases for Indian immigrants, which had to be fought in London at that time. It is a wonderful gesture of the 28 artists who have taken time out of their busy schedules, and have made creations based on Gandhi.”
Fifty-four year-old Seema Kohli’s untitled mixed media on canvas, tells the tale of a woman, with long curly locks, dancing in joy with her arms raised freely in the air, who almost appears holding the sun in one hand. “I have used no imagery of Gandhi or his props. I have tried to put his ideals of liberation and the journey of truth visually. The sun is one of the representations of truth, as it has been there forever.”
The other artists who have contributed to this project include Jogen Chowdhury, Manu Parekh, Arpana Caur, K S Radhakrishnan, Atul Dodiya, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Jagannath Panda, Jayasri Burman, B.Manjunath Kamath, Veer Munshi, Seema Kohli and Parthiv Shah.
The artworks can be viewed and bought online at http://www.gandhistatue.org and http://www.artalivegallery.com. It will move to Art Alive Gallery and will be on display from December 17 to 19.