Rabindranath Tagore paintings `a huge draw` in South Korea

New Delhi: An exhibition of 49 original paintings of Rabindranath Tagore now on display in the South Korean capital are drawing hundreds every day.

"It has been a huge draw," said A.R. Ramanathan, professional advisor to New Delhi`s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), the nodal agency for the travelling painting exhibitions.

"Koreans have great respect and love for Tagore," Ramanathan told IANS. "Tagore had written a poem describing Korea as the Lamp of the East. This is well remembered."

Nobel Prize winner Tagore painted with ink and water colour profusely in the last stages of his life, producing works that enjoy global respect.

To mark his 150th birth anniversary celebrations, the Indian government has organised year-long travelling exhibitions of his paintings.

Sixty-one paintings are presently on display at New York`s Asia Society Museum and 98 in Berlin. In Seoul, the National Museum of Korea is hosting the show.

NGMA director Rajeev Lochan and Indian diplomats in Seoul inaugurated the show Sep 19. The exhibition will conclude in the end of November.

Lochan and curator R. Siva Kumar from Visva Bharati University at Santinekatan, which has provided most of the paintings, lectured on Tagore and his art to enthusiastic audiences in Seoul, Ramanathan said.

Seoul even boasts of a Tagore Society, run by a South Korean.

"Tagore truly believed that paintings had the depth and power to communicate where words could have encountered limitations," an NGMA official said.

The paintings now in New York will move to Chicago while those in Seoul will be taken to London. Paintings on display in Germany will go to the Netherlands, France and Italy.


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