At the opening reception of the exhibition, the inauguration begins. The first of the honored guest speakers is master artist Dhiraj Choudhury.
Dr. T. K. Biswas, Director of the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata is an expert in the field of Indian art history. Author of several art history books including Horse in Early Indian Art, he is the perfect person to lecture on the topic of Indian mythology in art. His talk is both informative and engaging.
Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya talks about my involvement in helping to organize Indian classical music concerts in Milwaukee with the Hindole Majumdar School of Music and Dance.
Indian classical vocalist Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay speaks to the relationship of music and visual art in India, and my commitment to the classical arts.
Now each honored guest lights the lamp.
And I have a turn.
As I express appreciation for all the kind words...
I garland each speaker with the gift of a scarf.
Following the opening ceremony, everyone is seated to enjoy a wonderful Indian classical music recital by Santoor maestro Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya,
The improvisational performance brilliantly suggests many moods in complex variations. To see a video of this duet performing just days earlier in Kolkata, please click this link:
The chairs are cleared away and the exhibition "An Exclusive Expression of Indian Mythology" is ready for viewing.
Ancient Indian Sculptures from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago served as inspiration for all 30 paintings and drawings.
The work is warmly received.
Although the icons are traditional, viewers say the treatment is new and unique, but still reverent.
Many express to me a feeling of pride, that a foreigner would dedicate so much effort and interest in the historical culture of India.
Some tell me they are genuinely moved spiritually. This is the greatest compliment I could receive!
Attendees examine the art closely...
Some more closely than others!
The next morning, photos from the opening reception appear in several newspapers.
"Hindustan Times" (English) Thursday, January 28, 2016:
"The Morning News" (Hindi):
"Bangla News" (Bengali). Click this link for the complete article in Bangla News 24.
(Funny, I don't remember the ribbon cutting. This must be photoshopped):
It is a pleasure meeting renowned Kolkata artist Wasim Kapoor when he visits.
I also meet many artists including Goti, a group of modern painters which has a group exhibit in another gallery in the Academy of Fine Arts.
It is a major surprise when Doordarshan Kendra, Kolkata (Government of India TV channel) arrives to interview me for a television program that airs throughout India and many other countries as well!
I am also extensively interviewed for a thorough review in the respected English language newspaper, "The Statesman" (February 6, 2016):
An unexpected delight is meeting several of my Facebook friends for the first time in person - and becoming friends in the real world...
And of course it was great making many other new friends!