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The Story of Rama at NGA – Indian Miniatures from New Delhi

Story of Rama

Guler style, Pahari The great battle between Rama and Ravana c 1780, opaque watercolour on paper National Museum, New Delhi, India

In a special arts and cultural exchange, the National Museum of New Delhi, India and the National Gallery, of Australia, Canberra are collaborating to present one hundred and one paintings that help to illustrate and share the excitement of the Ramayana.

‘We are delighted to share with all Australians the story of Ramayana, one that transcends generations and is reflective of our rich and deep culture’ said Mr. Sanjiv Mittal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Director General, National Museum of New Delhi.

In the tradition of ancient epic poems, the Ramayana is a story of intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and the triumph of good over evil, which was meant to provide moral guidance and enlightenment to the general populace.

Hinduism like Christianity has a trinity – Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Regenerator. They are however reincarnated in a number of forms including animals, to assist humankind in times of crisis.

‘Rama, hero of the Ramayana is one of nine major incarnations of Vishnu on earth. The son of King Dasaratha, Rama is believed to been placed on earth to perform the task of conquering Ravana the ruler of Lanka and king of the demons’.

Transcribed by Valmiki, a poet of the fourth century before the Christ event, the Ramayana is also a story of love reinforced though a hundred and one miniature paintings.

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Chamba style, Pahari, The abduction of Sita by Ravana from Panchvati; the bird Jatayu tries to save Sita, late 18th century, opaque watercolour on paper National Museum, New Delhi, India

They illustrate the narrative and its important concepts of ideology, devotion, duty, relationships and both dharma and karma.

Dharma is a major concept in Indian life, all about cosmic moral order underlying all of humankind’s existence. The dilemma for everyone is in making the best choices in life by considering both principles and circumstances before action.

Making the moral choice is extremely important – making decisions that bring about good actions for the Hindu, vital. It is all about cosmic harmony and so the decisions that result in bad actions may also bring about cosmic suffering.

The decisions we all face in life according to dharma are all ‘thought-provoking’.

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Mandi style, Pahari The coronation procession c 1800, opaque watercolour on paper, National Museum, New Delhi, India

This is why we are called to consider them wisely, taking the time to do so.

However while that may be the best way, time is quite often the enemy and we are often called upon to make instant decisions due to urgent circumstances.

Dharma embraces the idea though that if we have trained ourselves to look at a problem from all angles first and prior to that time, then hopefully we will make the right choice when the chips are down.

National Museum of New Delhi specialises in miniatures, having one of the largest collections in all the major styles.

The written manuscripts that have long since been dispersed, are kept alive all over India, as revealed by the diversity of regional painting styles.

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Ron Blicq Interview – Playing Real People Doing Real Things

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Ron Blicq at Brisbane, photo by Dan Ryan

Ron Blicq Canadian playwright’s play Closure at the Chelmer Community Centre in Brisbane Queensland 2015, was the fifth staging of the play.

It previously played in Guernsey, Texas, San Antonio and Vancouver to critical acclaim.

Ron Blicq travelled from Canada to Brisbane to see the production and I was very fortunate to meet and interview him. Savouring this unique experience, I am thrilled to share his responses.

What triggered your interest in and commitment to writing plays?

I have always had an interest in live theatre, but as a single parent I never had the opportunity to do anything about it, other than take my children to local children’s theatre.

Following my ‘retirement’ as a technical writer and teacher of technical writing, I thought I would like to write children’s literature and so enrolled in a prestigious online correspondence course.

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The Devereaux’s – Opening night of Closure, Chelmer Community Centre, Brisbane, 2015 photo by Dan Ryan

When the instructor told me I was weak on writing factual detail but very strong on writing dialogue, I turned around and ‘tried my hand’ on a new venture. Since then I have written 14 plays, 11 of which have been produced successfully and three have won awards!

Have you developed a particular pattern or schedule for writing?

No. I am involved in other endeavours, so it has to happen when I either have time or I am prompted because I have discovered a motivating topic and interesting characters. Some writers write for, say, four hours at a time; I cannot because I get so involved in what’s happening to my characters that after one hour I have to step back, feeling drained (yet pleased with what has gone onto paper/screen).

How do you see yourself and your writing making a difference?

Essentially, I like to write plays that have a compelling situation or difficulty to resolve or overcome, especially in a family environment.

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Opening night of Closure, Chelmer Community Centre, Brisbane, 2015 photo by Dan Ryan

Then I want the audience to come away thinking about the circumstances and the result. Most of my plays do not end with a ‘pat’ outcome. Often, viewers have to determine for themselves what will happen as a result of the outcome they have seen. As you will see Closure has such a ‘final moment’.

What was the germinating thought or experience that inspired you to write Closure?

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