Namaste -Colours of India

Aus dem Newsletter anlässlich des 10jährigen Bestehens von AFS (Unterkulturelle Begegnungen e.V.) Namaste: Colors of India - Indian Art Exhibition in Germany Ajay Mehta is a senior volunteer with AFS India from the Rajkot Chapter. In 2011, he participated in an Indo- German volunteer exchange program to Germany, spon- sored by the Robert Bosch Foundation and in 2012, hosted a German volunteer, Anita Styles. As chance would have it, Ajay was also hosting a German student for the year, Simon Rudat. His wife, Hema is a painter and Anita having had the opportunity of seeing Hema’s work, offered to help set up an exhibition of the paint- ings in Idstein (Germany). Anita booked Speicher art gallery for two weekends in Idstein during October 2014 and also very kindly hosted them for two weeks. Her meticulous planning and sup- port made the event a great success. The primary objective of this exhibition was to reflect the multicultural aspect of Indian culture through paint- ings. They felt that sometimes to understand another culture; paintings can act like a window to that which would otherwise only be understood with time in anoth- er culture. The paintings had varied themes like Gandhi at the Spinning wheel, religious portrayal, depictions of rural India, Indian dance forms, etc. The local newspaper remarked that the painting of Mahatma Gandhi exempli- fied the motto written at the bottom - “Be the change you want to see in the world”. The exhibition also at- tracted many art connoisseurs, who were impressed by the use of vibrant colours and themes of paintings. Ajay’s former host son Simon Rudat also travelled to Id- stein to support his host parents. He explained the nu- ances of Indian culture represented by paintings in German language to local visitors. His understanding of the various cultural themes not only impressed others present but also showed the richness of his exchange program to India. Other AFS Germany volunteers also travelled to Idstein to show their support for the Mehta’s exhibition. AFS believes that we must build bridges of understand- ing and mutual respect between countries and cultures around the world. Looking at the ex- periences of not just the Mehtas, but their host son, Simon, the German volunteers as well as the art connoisseurs, it is truly possible to see that the ‘bridges’ that we as AFS wish to cross are not just being built but also crossed as well. Such exchanges influence the lines of not only the people undergoing the experience but also the lives of others such as the art con- noisseurs who had the opportunity to view Indian cultural paintings and glimpse our Indian culture. 

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