The Indian High Commission brought India to Botswana in a five-day art exhibition at Thapong Visual Arts Centre. Dubbed ‘March of Millennium Years – Art and Culture Void to Eternity’, the exhibition saw original pieces depicted from the Ancient India to date. The Ambassador of India to Botswana Dr Ken Shukla said the exhibition was aimed at giving a glimpse to the art treasure of India with displays of sculptures, paintings, jewellery, woodcraft, stone craft and handicrafts. He said the civilisation of India differs from those of others be it Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome in that its traditions have been passed on from millenniums to the other. According to Shukla, India has been the home of arts and crafts since primitive times and painting is no exception to this fact. “Indians knew the art of painting since prehistoric times with earliest cave paintings depicting various scenes as the ample testimony of this fact,” he said. He said their textiles are also reputed all over the world and admired for their beauty, texture and durability.
Some of the works displayed at Thapong were the Chola Bronze Sculptures that were built through the period of the imperial Cholas – an age of continuous improvement and refinement of the Dravidian art and Architecture where they utilised their prodigious wealth in building long lasting stone temples and exquisite bronze sculptures. Other striking works were the Raj Rava Varma Paintings – popular for portrayal of scenes from the epic sagas Mahabharata and Ramayana with his representation of a saree clad woman in his oil paintings. They are always considered graceful. Thapong Visual Arts’ Reginald Bakwena appreciated the choice made by different countries to exhibit at the Centre, with the Indian Embassy after the Japanese embassy to host their exhibition there. “This gives our local artists the chance to learn so many things because the way these artists portray themselves is totally different in terms of composition and presentation, concept development and the craftsmanship,” he said. Gaborone mayor Kagiso Thutlwe said as the city of Gaborone they will always appreciate anything that fosters cultural exchange. He challenged other countries to also use the place and bring artworks from their countries for exhibitions. Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlogile Tshireletso conceded that she was very much inspired by the works in display. “This gives us much insight about their culture and their beliefs and to learn more about them,” she said.