26 October 2018
First Friday Forum in its annual oration-2018 organised a Symposium on Art in Architecture at Government Museum & Art Gallery in Sector 10-C here. Welcome address and introduction of the oration theme was delivered by Ar Kapil Setia, chief architect, Chandigarh administration.
New-York-based Ar Amar Malla was the chief guest. Commenting on his work in America vis-à-vis what is happening in India, he said, the work ethic there is of high impeccable standard; here it is free-for-all. Procedural bottlenecks and widespread political bureaucratic interference and supremacy are formidable talent-killers. In such a situation it is impossible to create anything worthwhile. Le Corbusier succeeded in creating Chandigarh because of his redoubtable professional stature that the world recognised.
He lauded the Forum’s perseverant role in educating the citizenry about a host of problems facing the city. He made a thought-provoking presentation on Glimpses of My Work in America, and showed a variety of excellent projects done by him. Originally hailing from Verka, Amar is one of the most distinguished of Chandigarh College of Architecture alumni from the second batch of graduates [1962-1967] settled abroad who has done his alma mater proud by his exemplary creativity and professional ethics with several awards to his credit. At present he is working on Music Hall, Snug Harbour Cultural Centre, Staten Island, New York [$10,000,000]. This project won NYC Commission Design Excellence Award in 2017 and Percent of Art Award in 2018. It is under construction now.
Prof Vilas Tonape, guest of honour, is an internationally recognised artist and art teacher, and is chairman of the Department of Art at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA. He has been creating art for over thirty years, and has 40-plus group and solo exhibitions to his credit. His work has been exhibited internationally in prestigious art galleries, including venues in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Ontario, and Bombay. Tonape has won numerous awards for his art-work throughout the United States and India. In his Acceptance Speech he hailed the First Friday Forum initiative in promoting and recognising varied aspects of creativity in visual arts. Dilating upon his journey in the art world he shared his inspiring thoughts with the audience.
Dr SS Bhatti, Founder, First Friday Forum, delivered the theme-oration on Art in Architecture revealing on the basis of archaeological findings how man became an artist before becoming anything else. As graphic language he attributed artistic creation as expression of emotion and primary function of the right hemisphere of the brain. According to him every human being is a born artist as can be seen in the babies’ instinct for charcoal drawing on the house-walls. He said that paintings in Altamira (Spain) and Lascaux (France) are marvels of artistic creation modern man can never surpass for their savage spontaneity and gay abandon. This is what must have led 20th-century’s greatest painter Pablo Picasso to declare that “All art after Altamira is decadent”. Dr Bhatti stressed that despite the internationally-accepted fact that architecture is the great mother art this discipline rarely finds pride of place in the activities of the akademis throughout the country, which is truly unfortunate.
Eight professionals were honoured with various awards. First Friday Forum Awards for Creative Excellence [FFFACE] were instituted in 2006 to honour those professionals/select individuals who have contributed significantly to the aesthetic enhancement of the Built-Environment through outstanding work in their own unique ways. Two new awards were instituted from 2017: FFF Lifetime Achievement Award and FFF Rising Star Award.
First Friday Forum Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on Ar Amar Malla and Professor Vilas Tonape for outstanding contribution to the field of architecture and art, respectively. Dr Surjit Patar was given Master Urdu Poet Rishi Patialvi Memorial Award with the title “Sultan-i-Sukhan”. FFF Awards for Creative Excellence for noteworthy contributions in their respective fields were given to Ms Nonika Singh (journalism), Dr Sangeeta Bagga Mehta (architectural education), and Ms Neetu Katyal (photo-art). Ar Mohita Garg Vashisht received First Friday Forum Rising Star Award for exceptional all-round brilliance in architectural creativity.
Er Anil Sharma, FFF Activities Adviser, delivered the thanks-giving speech. The function was attended by professionals, prominent citizens, media-persons; students of architecture and other disciplines, and the proactive public.