“To be an artist is to believe in life”, said Henry Moore, and Lab Academia yet again reinstated this belief in art and artists with its fabulous six-day National Art Exhibition held in May 2017.
The exhibition, aptly termed ‘Hues of Bliss’, was organised by the Artist Forum of Lab Academia in association with Allahabad Museum (Ministry of Culture, Government of India). It featured painting, sketches and photography by artists from across the length and breadth of the country. And what better way to start the proceedings than on the International Museum Day itself. The opening ceremony was, thus, held on May 18, 2017. The theme was “History” in accordance with this year’s theme for International Museum Day, ‘Contested Histories: Saying the Unspeakable in Museums’.
Shri Sanjay Kumar (DM of Allahabad), Dr. Anita Gopesh (Author and Professor, Zoology Dept, University of Allahabad), Dr Smita Agarwal (Poet and Professor, Department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Allahabad), Dr Mohammad Arif (Rtd. Additional Director, Govt of India, Ministry of Defence) Mr Aqeel Syed ( Director of Herbalage Wellness India) and Ms Ashi Kalim (Author of ‘The Day Before I Died) and other distinguished personalities graced the Opening Ceremony.
The event included presentations and discussions on a wide array of arts and literature and histories. Ms Ashi Kalim addressed the gathering post ceremony. She introduced her book and shared her thoughts on Allahabad’s cultural history. Dr Shamenaz (Lecturer, Ewing Christian College, Allahabad) also shed light on her relationship with this city, with its wide plethora of cross-cultural and multilingual legends. Some team member, like Shlok Ranjan Srivastava, also went up to the dais to give in their input on the subject, while others put up questions to the panel. The first day kicked off to a grand start.
Everyone flocked to the museum to view the artwork despite the towering heat. People from all walks of life continued to register their presence and by the third day itself, more than 800 people had visited the exhibition. It was a sight in itself to watch these immensely talented artists standing proudly next to their works and talk to the eager admirers.
School students like Siddhant Luthra, Gayatri Bahri, Aanshika Goswami, Shivangi Srivastava, Aazam Khan, Geetanjali Sarkar etc received rave reviews from all. Mature Artists like Mr Pramesh Sadh, Marjit Bhaskar Gupta, Vivek Singh, Survarna Dheringe, Vishal Vishwakarma, Dr N.K. Pandey, Dr Ashish Singh, Rajan Bharti, Charak, Neera Saxena, Kaveri Vij, Nisha Gupta, Neha Agarwal, Mr Jyoti Sharma, Shanila Ansari, Ankita Verma, and much more fascinated the viewers with their brilliant choice of subjects and deft handling of colours. Their works were a treat to the eyes and food for the soul.
With such a warm reception from all over the city and outside, ‘Hues of Bliss’ came to its supposed ending on May 21, 2017, with the Closing Ceremony being carried out with much fervour in the Museum Auditorium, and Professor S.D. Roy (Dept of English and Modern European Languages, University of Allahabad) as the Chief Guest. Aside from being an excellent teacher and scholar, Professor Roy has a keen interest in the performing arts, having acted in and directed several theatrical performances. He is also interested in music and is an accomplished poet.
The ceremony was also graced by Mr Rajesh Purohit (Director of Allahabad Museum), a keen scholar of arts and culture, without whose unwavering support ‘Hues of Bliss’ would never have materialised. Mr Aqeel Syed (Director of Herbalage Wellness India) was also present.
In his address, Professor Roy recalled past events of such artistic endeavour and regretted the dearth of fresh initiatives in this area. He congratulated Lab Academia and the team of ‘Hues of Bliss’ for its novel approach towards rebuilding the taste for the arts in the city.
Mr Purohit also offered his congratulations to the team and especially to Farha Naz (Director of Lab Academia) for the amazing feat. As a wonderful surprise, he announced a two-day extension to the exhibition. The news was received with a thunder of applause.
In an address laced with his characteristic humour, Mr Aqeel Syed exhorted both the contributing artists and Lab Academia to never give up the cause of Art, come what may.
Following this, all the artists were introduced and presented with certificates and gifts. Ketak Dua was recognised as the ‘Best Emerging Young Talent’, Gayatri Bhari as the ‘Best Emerging Painting Artist’ and Vishal Vishwakarma as the ‘Best Emerging Photographer’.
The Ceremony also entailed performance from school kids. Ashu Arora and Arindam Ghosh, both team members, recited their poems. The highlight of the event was the band performance by ‘Imaginary Beats’.
In the end, the entirety of the team of ‘Hues of Bliss’ was introduced and presented with certificates of appreciation by the chief guests. The Ceremony was formally signed off by Mr Danish Faizan’s vote of thanks.

Tooba Masood

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