Indian Folk Art Foundation, Australia hosts Australia's first Tanjore Painting Exhibition
However, they are at risk of being forgotten as social and economic pressures force artisans to pursue alternative careers.
Indian Folk Art Foundation believes that the key to keeping Indian folk arts alive is to spread awareness internationally. Previously, these art forms were contained within India with no international exposure.
The event was held at the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs, Victoria. The event would not have been possible without the generous support of the Hindu Society of Victoria (HSV), who are responsible for maintaining the temple and the surrounding spiritual and cultural precinct.
The HSV was founded in 1982 and has a current membership of around 2,000 members. The Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere.
Devotees in thousands regularly attend its various Pooja Ceremonies and Festival Celebrations each year.
On many occasions, the temple has recorded attendances in excess of 15,000 people. This event was the first Indian art exhibition to be held at the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple.
The Indian Art Exhibition was a huge success, with hundreds of guests visiting over the weekend. Among the kind supporters were two members of parliament and several valued members of Australia’s Indian community.
These special guests were invited to light lamps at the exhibition. Lighting lamps is one of the traditional ways to begin any event in India, this gesture signifies prosperity and good luck.
Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM MP who represents South Eastern Metropolitan Region for the Labor Party in the Victorian Legislative Council. Mr Tarlamis attended the opening ceremony on the 26th of August 2022 and spoke highly of the exhibition:
“It was an honour of officially opening the magnificent Tanjore Painting Exhibition in Melbourne, as part of the Endangered Folk Arts of India Exhibition at the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs, featuring around 80 unique artefacts from all over the Indian subcontinent – including the largest collection of Tanjore paintings
This impressive exhibition was organised by the Indian Folk Art Foundation which was founded in 2020 by Senthil Vel – an artist himself – and his wife Rathna with the support of family, friends, and volunteers with the aim of shedding a light on endangered Indian Folk Arts – while also wanting to build a cross-cultural connection with Australian art lovers.
There are over 50 traditional folk arts indigenous to India – each style distinct and originating from various states across the country – with some dating back over 3,000 years. Their survival has been dependent on small communities passing knowledge down from generation to generation.
Exhibitions like this ensure these important arts – many of which convey cultural teachings, traditions, and stories – are not lost forever and are enjoyed by new audiences.
It’s important we encourage the continued learning and passing on of the techniques to create such masterpieces – so they endure for future generations – keeping culture and traditions alive.
Thanks again to Senthil, Rathna, the International Indian Folk Art Gallery and their volunteers and supporters for your passion, dedication and tireless work – driven by your concern over the disappearing indigenous folk artwork of India – some of which is on the verge of extinction.” – Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM MLC via Facebook on 30 August 2022
“It is my great pleasure to visit the magnificent Tanjore Painting Exhibition. I thank Senthil & Rathna from International Indian Folk Art Gallery Australia for their kind invitation. I also congratulate them for the initiative to organise this lovely exhibition for Endangered Folk Arts of India in Australia.
I understand International Indian Folk Art Gallery (IIFAG) was started as a social enterprise, to revive and promote endangered Indian Folk Arts while building a cross-cultural connection with Australian art lovers. In this exhibition they are displaying around 80 unique artefacts from all over the Indian subcontinent, including largest collection of Tanjore paintings.
Today through this exhibition, we acknowledge their achievements and for nurturing their rich cultural heritage in Australia and promoting multicultural coexistence by celebrating and sharing their art with the wider community.” – Mr Jason Wood MP via Facebook on 27 August 2022.
Many other special guests joined us over the weekend, including
- Mr C. S. Srinivasan, Board Member of Multicultural Arts Victoria, and former Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
- Anil Kumar Kolanukonda, Founder and Secretary of Aumsai Sansthan Temple
- Balasubramaniam Rangarajan, President of The Hindu Society of Victoria.
Indian Folk Art Foundation is an Australian organisation with deep Indian roots. The initiative is conceived with the singular goal to highlight the beauty of endangered Indian Folk Arts while building a cross-cultural connection with Australian art lovers. One of the pathways to reach this goal is to have an exhibition and sale to showcase the artworks.
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