Date: On till 17th December
“Leela” or divine play of Ram has lead to a host of traditions in India and beyond. The various forms of ballads around Ramayan penetrate regional and even religious domains. They break from art categorization such as classical or folk / urban or rural and each rendition has some unique local character. Some of this mind boggling variety is now on display at Leela, an exhibition on Ramayan traditions at IGNCA, on till 17th December, 11 a.m to 7 p.m. every evening.
In line with the variety in Ram Leela, the museum like approach covers modern installations with light and sound to traditional Ram Durbar idols, masks, paintings, religious texts, prints and puppets. The well-documented display brings items from various parts of India as well as Thailand and Indonesia where Ramayan tradition is part of life. Video recordings of Ram Leela as well as other Ramayan performances, such as shadow puppets from Andhra Pradesh and Bali are also being shown as part of the event. The exhibition is very colourful and a far cry from any monotony that such academic displays might bring.
For many of us, attending an effigy burning session at Ram Leela is a must do during Dusshera festival. In fact, we have friends who are active participants of this theatre tradition. This one is for them. Leela successfully demonstrates the preservation and propagation of a tradition over centuries and across various cultures and languages. Ramayan is not only about gods, it was and is about people. It is a practice that is as ancient as it is contemporary.
We were at IGNCA to attend the folk performance festival “Lok Gatha” when we saw this exhibition Leela. IGNCA is a beautiful venue and attending Leela – An exhibition on Ramayana tradition here we think would be an interesting change. We are hugely impressed and kudos to the detail that the exhibition bring for us.