Borderless Gandhi, established in 2014, by Nilesh and Lele Makwana, is their expression of gratitude and appreciation to their adopted city of Perth. They hope to plant the seeds of harmony and peaceful co-existence within different faiths and communities. This exhibition was their attempt to endorse the values and legacy of the Mahatma through Sogani’s imaginative expression of Gandhiji’s life and thoughts. It is supported by the Government of Western Australia, City of Perth, and the Government of India. Shernaz revisits a unique art exhibition, Borderless Gandhi, in this report, exclusively for Different Truths.
October 2016. ‘Borderless Gandhi presents Mahatma in me’.
Bapu stood tall and imposing at 8’x4’, subtly imaged in steel – a fitting tribute to this icon of steely convictions and nerves, by the famous artist Vibhor Sogani of New Delhi, at an exhibition held in Perth, W. Australia.
Borderless Gandhi, established in 2014, by Nilesh and Lele Makwana, is their expression of gratitude and appreciation to their adopted city of Perth. They hope to plant the seeds of harmony and peaceful co-existence within different faiths and communities. This exhibition was their attempt to endorse the values and legacy of the Mahatma through Sogani’s imaginative expression of Gandhiji’s life and thoughts. It is supported by the Government of Western Australia, City of Perth, and the Government of India.
Casual visitors to the Bell Tower, at Elizabeth Quay, we were magnetised by the reflective images in steel, the largest 16’x 10’. The artwork contains more than 10 life-size installations with titles like In Harmony, A Silent March, And Millions Marched, Mind of the Mahatma, The Road Ahead, My Life is my Message, A Legendary Smile, etc. These brilliantly showcase the influence and times of Gandhi. The Mahatma peered benevolently from different angles and poses; what was impressive was the viewer being reflected in the shiny art material besides this apostle of peace, non-violence, and self-reliance. That moment triggered self-reflection, an inward turning to question one’s own values.
Sogani says, “All will see images of the Mahatma. Most will find reflections of the world. Many will see their own selves reflected. Some will look to find their souls. A few will act to realise the Mahatma within.”
The Mahatma cannot be diminished or his voice and significance stifled. He is not some currency that can be demonetised. He belongs to the world, which needs him today, more than ever before. His message will echo down centuries nurturing seeds of non-violence and peace in the most unlikely hearts at most improbable times because his is an influence that hopefully will outlive violence. He and the ‘charkha’ are synonymous. They will always remain inseparable in people’s minds. He said that he saw God in every thread he drew from the spinning wheel. He didn’t just spin yarn; he spun Swaraj and his dream of an India with an all-inclusive spirit.
We, his nation are still far from that dream. He had predicted, “If we do not keep our backyards clean our Swaraj will have a foul stench”. We have lived with that stench for decades now. We need to clean up our backyard, we need to take that one step forward towards a much-needed makeover and while some spin only yarns that cannot be woven into the fabric of reality, each of us needs to carry forward Gandhiji’s legacy and inch towards a Swaraj that “recognises no race or religious distinction.”
Dr. Ela Gandhi, the Mahatma’s granddaughter has this vision: “I see Borderless Gandhi as one such initiative, to eliminate the causes of war. With dedication and wide reach we can together bring about that change.” Do we have the guts, individually and as one, to bring about that transformation by beginning to change3 from within?
Because that is where all change commences – within ourselves!
Below is the link to the amazing, contemplatively crafted images of the exhibition that will not let the Mahatma be erased.
Photos by author.
#Bapu #Gandhi #Swaraj #Mahatma #Perth #WestAutralia #Government #message #NonViolence
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