The Mahatma: An art exhibition to help Gandhi be in London

The Mahatma: An art exhibition to help Gandhi be in London

The 'Three Wise Monkeys' of Mahatma Gandhi in modern avatars -- one sporting sunglasses, another a cigar and the third a pair of headphones -- form part of an artistic depiction of Bapu and his ideologies.

The portrayal is one among works created by 28 renowned Indian artists to be included in an exhibition that aims to raise funds to install a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Parliament Square in London.

"Mod Monkeys," the painting by artist Veer Munshi finds its place among works created by some top names in the art world such as M F Husain, Jatin Das, Raghu Rai, Arpana Caur and others.

Artworks including serigraphs, reproductions and lithographs ranging from Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 30 lakhs were showcased at the British High Commissioner's residence here recently and can be seen online at

"I just felt that the whole idea of Gandhi is still so alive within us as a society. And we need to represent him in all the ways possible, his ideologies, thinking and life," says Kishwar Desai.

Kishwar along with husband Indian-born, British economist and Labour politician, Lord Meghnad Desai has set up the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust to help raise a total of one million pounds that is required to realise a proposal to erect Mahatma's statue.
London's Parliament Square presently sports statues of leading global personalities such as Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela.

"Writers have already written about Gandhi in different ways. But artists have never collectively thought differently about him and then presented it," says Kishwar Desai.
Sunaina Anand, owner of Delhi-based Art Alive Gallery as well as the curator of the exhibition says she has already started getting calls by prospective buyers.

"We have a lot of interests. Lot of people have called. The show now will be on Art Alive Gallery from December 18 to December 20 can be seen online too. So it's reaching out to more many people than just Delhi. We might set up in UK as well. You never know. When you do something with passion, it goes to a different level, so let’s see," says Sunaina.

British sculptor Philip Jackson has fashioned the bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

"I volunteered to start a trust and my wife and I were the first trustees. We did a lot of things initially like getting the trust registered, preparing a website. We had a lot of help from a lot of people who began donating something to the Gandhi statue," says Meghanand Desai.

Desai says a clay model of the 9-feet-tall statue has already been prepared and the final statue is expected to be ready by the end of this December.

"The statue has already been done in clay model. We saw the clay model towards the end of October and now it's being carved in bronze. It takes two months for a clay model to be crafted into bronze. So some time after Christmas it will be ready," he says.

Desai says that whenever he walked past the Parliament Square, he always felt a need for Mahatma Gandhi's statue since he is a global figure.

"I've lived in London for 49 years now and I often walk through the Parliament Square and wonder why Gandhi isn't there among all the stalwarts, especially after Mandela was installed," says Desai.

Desai says that he is grateful for the gesture by the artists who have contributed their works to the exhibition.

"I am overwhelmed with the contribution of these artists. They could have pocketed the money but they chose to give the selling price for the statue of Mahatma Gandhi," says Desai.

Proposal to erect a statue of the Mahatama was made by British MP William Hague.
Artists whose works are included in the selling show include Jamini Roy, M F Husain, S H Raza, Manjit Bawa, Sakti Burman, Jogen Chowdhury, K G Subramanyan, Thota Vaikuntam, Manu Parekh, Paresh Maity, Jatin Das, Amit Ambalal, Atul Dodiya, Haku Shah, Jyoti Bhatt, Madhavi Parekh and the Singh twins.

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