New Delhi, April 14: If display of historical artworks is meant to trigger novel interpretations, then a landmark exhibition at National Museum here is lending unconventional ideas to the mission.
A comics workshop the museum held as part of ‘The Body in Indian Art' brought in close to 20 artists, who have begun working on freewheeling thoughts that occurred to them after viewing the 300-plus objects which grace the eleven-week show ending in June.
Organised in collaboration with World Comics India, the two-day get-together of young artistes over the weekend saw their sketching imaginary stories coloured on the impression they got on seeing the exhibits that throw light primarily on the depiction of the body over a span of four millennia - across India's religions, cultures and regions.
National Museum Director-General Dr Venu V said the idea behind the workshop was to widen the reach of the March 14-June 7 show to people from various walks and sense their varied feedback. "The exercise would add to the aesthetic dimensions of the exhibition," he said, referring to ‘The Body in Indian Art' curated by art historian Naman P Ahuja.
The delegates at the workshop that concluded on Sunday evening are slated to submit their artwork in a week. "We plan to come up with a booklet showcasing the comics," added Dr Venu.
World Comics India founder Sharad Sharma, who conducted the workshop, said the exhibition has stimulated the imagination of the artists - they include painters, graphic designers and even a Scandinavian working with her country's embassy in Delhi.
"Almost all of them have come up with exciting themes, often hilarious," he revealed, while guiding the youngsters on executing their plots. "Quite a few are sarcastic - brimming with social, political and historical undertones."
All the same, not all themes are in lighter vein. For instance, artist Bhanu Pratap said he was working on the mindset of old-time sculptors who invariably left their work unsigned - "something that is unimaginable today."
Norwegian Kathrine Flaak said her focus would be on "the changing manmade image of beauty" over the years.
The workshop began on Saturday, hours after National Museum hosted a talk by renowned photographic artist Dayanita Singh, whose show titled ‘Book Museum' has been on view (from March 10 to May 10) at the second floor.
In her hour-long Friday evening talk on ‘Building the Book Museum: photography, language, form', the author recalled her experiences in the field of capturing images and writing on them.
She also explained how the book can be "a museum without walls", capable of taking its own trajectories by making it to the houses of people across the globe.
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