London, 16th November 2022: Imafoundation was invited to curate an art exhibition in support of a unique celebration and a fundraising event – The Commonwealth Ball -organised by the Mayor of Southwark to be held in London on the 18th of November at City Pavilions, London. This evening will mark His Majesty King Charles III’s ascension to the throne and celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence. The theme of ‘Bollywood Rhythm’ was chosen by the curators as a tribute to the cultural powerhouse of Bollywood which has for generations permeated the lives of millions and enriched their lives at multiple levels through the rich stories, full of music, drama, dance, and colour to convey the full spectrum of emotions.
Typically Bollywood films are a roller coaster of experiences which has the power to indelibly imprint powerful emotions and beliefs on the hearts and minds of millions of people not only in India but worldwide. The curators stated: “As Bollywood films are the most consumed films worldwide, we wanted to underscore the vital importance they play and recognise their unique life-enhancing features through the lens of contemporary highly talented artists. We asked 33 artists primarily from across India and a few in the UK to reflect on the personal, social, and cultural meaning of Bollywood and particularly to highlight its positive features on Indian culture. We wanted the works to reflect the influences that films have had on the collective imagination, bringing colour, music, dance, drama, and images which communicate the full range of human emotions and ultimately and invariably are always uplifting and always embedded with hope and optimistic focus. At their core, the narrative and characters seek to bring meaning and hope to the lives of many”.
The artists were also encouraged to ensure our popular culture is expressed through the art medium, which can often feel culturally marginalised and elite. Bringing popular culture centre-stage, to popularise and democratise art is important so that art connects with the many, not the few. The selected highly talented artists rose to the challenge to interpret the themes resonant and important to showcase their personal beliefs and sentiments. The world of Bollywood is expansive and inviting and the paintings produced to reflect this. The artists spoke of how the process and collective thinking of the group had an uplifting impact on their understanding of the importance of Bollywood as a unique energetic signature that has successfully proliferated around the world. As Rani Bains notes, “In many ways, Bollywood over the different generations is a vitally important historical cultural archive. The images and stories are a unifying force portraying life across the vast expanse of India, from the narrow lanes of slums to the busy city streets and the majestic beauty of the mountains, forests, and natural landscape. Bollywood is a unifier and binds the collective subconscious in a thread that cuts across all classes, races, and creeds and in a common understanding of the human condition and the human heart. It also illustrates the power of story and imagination to lift our spirits to new realms and new heights.”
A special painting was produced by the curator Radha Binod Sharma, who created a large-scale painting called “A Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar”. The sad demise in 2022 of the Indian legend known as “the Nightingale of India” is an immense loss of a cultural icon of India, particularly for Bollywood films. Her voice was an omniscient presence which lifted the emotional tone and brought the unparalleled beauty of the human voice to underscore thousands of films across generations. She was the defining musical signature who upheld the soul of Bollywood and ultimately sang songs which were a tribute to beauty, integrity and the enduring human spirit and the music of the human heart. The exhibition will be continued with a further event in London on the evening of the 24th of November – 7th of January 2023 at OmniDe (96 Belsize Lane, Belsize Park, London NW3 5BE) and then available to view online until February 2023 at www.imafoundation.com. A charity auction of the painting “A Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar” will commence on the 18th of November- the 23rd of December 2022.