A collection of works by artists from across SAARC’s nine member countries has gone on display at Male’s National Art Gallery, ahead of the 17th SAARC summit to be held in Addu City later this year.
The Puducherry Blue exhibition, which will run at the gallery until June 12 2011, aims to bring together various works from South Asian artists that were produced at an arts camp held in Puducherry, India, in 2010.
The collection presents a combination of various techniques; from more impressionist captures of national life such as Shwa in Tein Pagoda by Myanmar’s Kyaw Shein, to more contemporary takes on regional art – such as in the output of India’s R Balu, whose Timeproof exhibit does away with the conventional paint on canvas approach entirely.
The sole Maldivian work in the exhibition is provided by artist Mariyam Omar, whose work ‘Epiphany’ teases at traditional images of Maldivian dancing seemingly obscured by somewhat more contemporary artistic techniques – or liberal splashings of paint depending on one’s own viewpoint.
Speaking during the event’s Male’ opening, the Maldives’ Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Mariyam Zulfa said that it was an honour for the country to host the exhibition, which has already toured a number of other SAARC nations.
“I am very delighted to have some of the artists here today who have travelled all this way to take part in this exhibition,” she said. “I’m sure if we can get ourselves organised we can take some of your works that we see here tonight for the SAARC summit that is being held in Addu City later this year. It will be our pride and joy to display these works at the [summit].”
Beyond the aesthetic value of the exhibition itself, Zulfa said she hoped the regional collaboration behind the exhibition would lead to wider number of events taking place at the gallery in a bid to inspire and develop local artists in the country.
“Hopefully, we can get the art community here a little more organised and learn a lot from your own experiences in the field of art,” she told those in attendance.
The exhibition has been arranged in collaboration with the High Commission of India in Male’, which has backed a number of arts projects in the country, including an arts camp earlier this year that saw a number of local and Indian artists gathering in Gan, Addu Atoll.
Indian High Commissioner Dnyaneshwar Mulay said at the exhibition launch that he believed that bringing together artists from across the region served to highlight the importance of connectivity between the SAARC nations as well as the role that art plays in it.
“[Art] makes you think about what is the true meaning of life. Why do we have this urge to connect with people? Why do we paint for example? That is its beauty,” he said.
The Puducherry Blue exhibition will remain on display at Male’ National Art Gallery until June 12. More information is available through the National Gallery on 331 0729.