Exhibition on Yoga in Indian Visual Arts opens at IGNCA


New Delhi, June 21: Yoga is so deeply ingrained in India’s culture that it has manifested in every art form and tradition through the ages in subtle and conspicuous ways — this is the key message of a first-of-its-kind exhibition that opened today at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).

 ‘Yoga in Indian Visual Arts’ showcases the depiction of various aspects of Yoga in Indian paintings, sculptures, scrolls, illustrated manuscripts and books through a selection of reprographic images.

The depictions of Yoga in these exhibits not represent just the postures or asanas that modern audiences are familiar with, but the philosophy and spiritual underpinnings of yogic practice since millennia – including the unity of matter and soul, meditation, self-awareness, contemplation, good deeds and firm action.

The 150-odd images are grouped in three different sections: jnana, dhyana and karma, based on the aspect of Yoga they represent.

The images sourced from the IGNCA archives are of collections currently with the British Library, British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum the Ashmolean Museum in the UK as well as the Cleveland Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, Asia Art Museum and Brooklyn Museum in the U.S.A.

Eminent Bharatanatyam dancer Dr Kanaka Srinivasan and IGNCA President Shri Ram Bahadur Rai inaugurated the 10-day long exhibition at the IGNCA Building on Mansingh Road on International Day of Yoga today.

Dr Srinivasan pointed out that classical dance has been associated with Yoga since ages. “The mental and physical discipline that dance demands are also necessary ingredients of yoga. Yoga’s breathing and stretching exercises enhance stamina, flexibility and balance: three things that are crucial for a dancer.”

Shri Rai said the wide acknowledgement and acceptance Yoga today is in part due to scientists who have undertaken serious research in the area. The publication of their works in leading international journals has helped spread the word about the mental and physical benefits of Yoga, he said.

‘Yoga in Indian Visual Arts’ has been curated by Shri Virendra Bangroo. “Yoga is a medium to rise above the visual world and to dive deep into the spiritual experience. Yogic exercises rejuvenate body and mind and are essential for the good health as well as for activating the energy and divine powers lying dormant within a person. This exhibition hopes to highlight all these aspects of Yoga,” he said.

Other speakers included Baba Yogendra; Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, the Member-Secretary of IGNCA; Shri Narayan Dutt Sharma, Head of the IGNCA Kalakosh division; and Mr Shukla of IGNCA.

The exhibition will be on until June 30, 2016 from 11 am to 6 pm on all days.

Earlier in the day, IGNCA hosted a morning session of yoga led by Dr Alka Tyagi. A dance performance titled ‘Ashtanga’ by the Mudra Group in the evening closed the IGNCA’s International Day of Yoga celebrations.

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