CALCUTTA – Much to his chagrin, Hindu painter Venkataswami Logaguru never had the chance to see Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as she ministered to some of the city’s poorest residents.
These days, he’s painting his impressions of her as a way to honour the beloved woman.
“From childhood, I wanted to see the Mother, but I could not. Now, I am happy I could draw three paintings of her,” Logaguru told Catholic News Service Feb 11 at an exhibit featuring the work of two dozen artists after they participated in a four-day camp organised by the fledgling Christian Artists Association of India.
The camp, which ended Feb 10, celebrated the theme “Mother Teresa: Communicator of Compassion”.
The idea for the exhibition came from Sister Nirmala Joshi, retired superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa.
“We started the camp by visiting and praying at the tomb of the mother for inspiration for our work,” Logaguru said.
The artists from across India produced 42 paintings depicting various facets of Mother Teresa’s life.
“This depicts Mother’s love, service and the peace she promoted through her work,” explained Logaguru, pointing to one of his paintings.
Subhas Maity, another Hindu artist, was pleased to be asked to participate in the camp. Painting images of Mother Teresa allowed him to share his gratitude for the work of the Missionaries of Charity in his life.
Maity told CNS that he was indebted to Mother Teresa because the Missionaries of Charity arranged treatment and provided medicine for his acute epilepsy.
“I have been visiting Mother’s tomb at least twice a week for years,” said Maity who travels two hours by bus to reach Mother Teresa’s tomb.
“Each time I paint Mother, I feel that I was touching the Mother,” said Maity, who had one of his paintings of Blessed Teresa presented to the governor of West Bengal state during celebrations of the 100th anniversary of her birth Aug 26 2010.
Alphonso Arul Doss, a world-acclaimed artist and former principal of Government College of Fine Arts in Chennai, told CNS he brought a team of 10 artists, including Logaguru, to the camp from the southern Indian city.
“This is part of the efforts to identify and bring together artists who stand for Christian values,” explained Doss, a Catholic who has been associated with Asian Christian Arts Association for 15 years.
Salesian Fr George Plathottam, media secretary for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said the camp was part of an effort to strengthen the Christian Arts Association of India, which was launched in August.
One piece of art from each artist will serve as a “membership fee” for the association. The money generated for the sale of the artwork will be used to support ailing and poor artists, Fr Plathottam said.
The paintings can be seen online at www.motherteresapaintings.com.
Three similar regional art camps are being planned to bring together other artists who promote Christian values in their work. - CNS
CNS photo: Hindu painter Venkataswami Logaguru with his painting of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Feb 11. The painting was part of an exhibit featuring the work of two dozen artists after they participated in a four-day camp organised by the fledgling Christian Artists Association of India. The camp celebrated the theme “Mother Teresa: Communicator of Compassion”