Some of India’s best-known artists are set to come together for a unique exhibition in New Delhi aimed at raising funds for the proposed Mahatma Gandhi memorial in London’s Parliament Square.
Works by the likes of M F Husain, Jogen Chowdhury, Manu Parekh K S Radhakrishnan, Sudip roy, Anu Malhotra, Sharmi Chowdhury and Suraj Kumar, among others, will be on display at the exhibition and sale to be held at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in the Indian capital on 13 December.
A number of the artists have created special paintings or sculptures inspired by the Mahatma.
“It is a wonderful gesture on the part of these renowned Indian artists, who are supporting not only the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square, but also the work of a fellow artist and sculptor, Philip Jackson, who has created the statue”, said Lord Meghnad Desai who chairs the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust.
“This reaching out between India and UK, through these artists, is only befitting, because Gandhi belongs to the whole world. He spent his early life not only in India, but also in London. Indeed, many of the works in this exhibition and sale reflect the international influence that the Mahatma continues to enjoy…in art, in philosophy, in politics.
“I would urge all admirers of the Mahatma from around the world to buy these wonderful pieces of art, and add to a historical legacy”, Lord Desai added.
The Mahatma may wield not-inconsiderable influence around the world but his iconic status hasn’t translated into pounds as easily as many imagined since the memorial was first announced by British Chancellor George Osborne in August.
Concerns have been raised after it was reported in November that the Trust had raised just over ten percent of the £1 million required to fund the memorial: that despite support for the effort by a number of wealthy British Asian businessmen and philanthropists.
Some believe that the Trust is unlikely to meet the deadline for the memorial’s original date of unveiling on 30 January 2015 – a concern not helped by the fact that Lord Desai himself refused to put a specific date for the inauguration.
Speaking at a press briefing in London last month, Lord Desai insisted that the funds would be raised but said, “I don’t think one should make any future plans. There’s something called randomness. The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.
“It will be sometime in 2015. Exactly when, I don’t know.”
The 9-foot statue, created by acclaimed British sculptor Philip Jackson, will stand amongst other famous historical figures such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mendela and Abraham Lincoln.
The sculpture is inspired by a picture of Gandhi taken outside 10 Downing Street in 1931 after he had met with then-Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald for the famous Round Table conference.
Fittingly, the Gandhi statue – once it is eventually placed on its plinth – will be the final memorial in the famous patch of grass in front of the Palace of Westminster and will, according to Jackson, enjoy the best position.
“Mahatma Gandhi will look directly at the Palace of Westminster. At his back will be the Supreme Court which would please him.
“At night when all the tourists have gone and the Palace of Westminster is quiet, he has to his left Jan Smuts, to his right Nelson Mandela, behind him Abraham Lincoln and in front of him Winston Churchill.
“What could be better than that?”