Saturday, December 17, 2005

Modernism in Miranda

Sponsors kept out The Times of India Saturday, December 17, 2005
New Delhi: A fairness cream company had volunteered to sponsor it. But English (honours) students of Miranda House, determined to make their twoday event on Modernism a true expression of the spirit of breaking tradition that the movement had stood for, turned down the offer. Instead, they sold food they had themselves cooked and raised Rs 10,000 to meet the expenses of biennial event.
The event, comprising film screenings, discussions, and a photography and poster exhibition based on the themes of war, city and body, happened in the college premises on Thursday and Friday. Said Bharti Bharadwaj, a third year student and president of the Literary Society of the college: ‘‘We wanted sponsors. But just because this is a girl’s college, the only company interested was the one selling fairness creams. We didn’t want them to come, so we raised our own money.’’ There is even a competition ‘‘Eye for Detail’’, where students are required to identify fragments of the works of great modernist painters and cash prizes to be won.
Tracing the birth and evolution of modernism in literature, arts, sciences from 1890-1930, the ‘‘visual journey’’ had an interesting take on the champions of modernism. ‘‘They who led the modernist movement also ruled the world,’’ talked about the colonisation of the world and how the economics of it, fuelled the movement that was to alter the face of the world forever.
Sharmila Purkayastha, a teacher of the English department, said: ‘‘The idea was to drive home the point that the aesthetics was not without its political and economic roots. Modernism was just one of the themes we had in mind for the exhibition, but it was finalised because as a concept it is very difficult to be taught without the visual element involved. This gave the students a chance to understand modernism in its totality rather than in literary abstracts.’’ Teachers took an active part in the planning and execution, even obtaining prints of some of the first photographs taken after the camera was invented from their contacts in foreign universities.
There was something for everybody, the exhibition featuring works as diverse as those of Ezra Pound, Van Gogh, Schielle, Monet and D H Lawrence. The two films screened were Battleship Potemkin and Modern Lights.

No comments:

Post a Comment