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Rashtrapati Bhavan muse for artists

Rashtrapati Bhavan 01

Rashtrapati Bhavan 01Quirky office stationery fashioned out of coconut shells and other everyday material that sport faces of some previous Presidents is what Rahool Saksena, a painter from Chennai, envisions to create during his stay at the Rashtrapti Bhavan here.

Saksena, is one of the four artists – two painters and two writers – invited to participate in the second edition of ‘In-Residence’ programme launched by President Pranab Mukherjee in December last year.

Under the programme, young and upcoming writers and artists are invited to “rejuvenate their artistic impulses” by providing them an environment to stay close to nature in the picturesque and serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“Each and every wall of Rashtrapati Bhavan speaks to me. I have a piece of art in mind for the walls, the galleries and even the official desks. It is difficult to put all into place right now. But after the program I am surely going to work on pieces for Rashtrapati Bhavan,” Saksena said.

Saksena who became a full time artist after relinquishing a 15-year-old corporate career, is comfortable with various types of mediums ranging from glass, wood and even foodgrains.

“I can create anything from anything. To me this ever changing form of art is art in itself,” he says.

Known for his quirky art pieces, Saksena says he intends to put forward a proposal to help promote contemporary architecture and beauty of the President’s official residence which he says would also generate work for artisans.

One of his ideas is to create souvenirs in the Patachitra style art form for tourists visiting the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“I will help start the project and this can provide employment to many Patachitra artists. At the same time a visitor can take back a unique piece of art as a reminder of our culture, heritage and a symbol of the seat of power of the country,” says Saksena.

The programme “Artists in Residence” now in its second year began on September 7 and invited artists are set to continue to stay here till September 26.

Another artist in the program, Pratap Sudhir Morey plans to create a digital work of art out of photographs of various sections of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“I am a little upset because I was not allowed to photograph certain parts of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. I plan to create a digital work that will be a contemporary tribute to the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” says Morey.

The artist has previously worked with issues of re-development, displacement and radical growth of urban spaces.

Meanwhile, Telugu writer Vempalli Gangadhar from Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, one of the two writers invited for the program has started to pen a new book.

A recipient of the Sahitya Academi’s Yuva Puraskar Gangadhar has written many books and articles on issues of farmers, women and the drought prone area of Rayalaseema.

“This program is very good and helpful for people like us,” says Gangadhar.

Fellow writer Yishey Doma Bhutia from Sikkim echoes his opinion.

“I am writing a historical novel based on Sikkim and will dedicate it to the President.” says Bhutia.

Jogen Chowdhary, an artist from Kolkata was the first artist ‘In-Residence’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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