Flash mob brings classical Indian art to life in Delhi

The performers were wearing saris along with temple jewellery, gajras, dhotis and turbans -- all draped in styles from centuries ago.

Published: 07th December 2018 04:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th December 2018 04:34 PM   |  A+A-

Raja Ravi Varma's Untitled potrait of Damayanti (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: A 19th-century painting by renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma was brought to life through the medium of a flash mob here recently.

Organised in the busy Select City Walk in South Delhi, the flash mob saw a group of performers dressed in 19th-century costumes casually converge in the central atrium of the mall and break into a dance.

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They recreated Varma's 'Portrait of a Family' where the artist captures a South Indian family in their finest attire.

Kiran Nadar, Chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art here, said the idea behind the flash mob was to make art more accessible to the public through its dissemination in an entertaining way.

"In India, we have a fondness for song and dance, and what better way to connect and engage with the public (than a flash mob) to raise awareness of India's great art heritage," Nadar told PTI.

According to her, the collector base in India is "very small" compared to countries like China, resulting in inadequate visibility of and dialogue around modern and contemporary Indian art.

"Art and art-related activities are still not a regular part of people lives. There is still a gap in the dissemination of knowledge to people," she said.

With outreach initiatives such as the flash mob, Nadar wants to bridge this gap so that art is no longer seen as just for the elite but a layman could also strive to stay connected with it.

The flash mob leveraged the entertainment value of the performance, surprising the visitors at the mall with a choreographed jig that combined traditional classical forms, break-dancing and modern dance set to South Indian fusion music.

The performers were wearing saris along with temple jewellery, gajras, dhotis and turbans -- all draped in styles from centuries ago.

The final pose saw the dancers assemble in the same form as the Raja Ravi Varma painting 'Portrait of a Family'.

It was done in order to recreate it in real life, and also to mark the opening of a new exhibition at KNMA which featured his celebrated works.

"By using an unusual, quirky and one of a kind activity like the flash mob, we wanted to treat the public to a visual spectacle to help peak interest in art. We wanted people to pick up their phones and google 'Raja Ravi Varma' and 'Indian art'," Nadar said.

Although the museum does not have any immediate plans for another flash mob, it is currently hosting an exhibition on the works of Jamgarh Singh Shyam that is scheduled to continue till January 12.

The collection has been curated by Jyotindra Jain and Roobina Karode.

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