The inspiration behind a photography and painting exhibition

The well heeled and the well intentioned gathered at PBC Art Gallery this past week. They were not there as part of a couple of exhibitions alone but to lend their voice, name, and money for laudable charities. The occasion was provided by B.K. Birla, whose `Landscapes', a series of photographs, went on display alongside Ganga Somany's painting exhibition `Dreams on Canvas'. The exhibition by the members of the Birla family was part of a fund raising art show and auction organised by the gallery at Prithviraj Road. Karan Singh, who inaugurated the function, reminisced, "The family has contributed extensively to India's growth in economic terms right from the pre-Independence era, and has simultaneously worked for the social and economic upliftof the masses." He also said, "I have always appreciated their passion for building temples. It indicates a deeply spiritual bent of mind, something not much in evidence in these days of materialism."B.K. Birla established the Birla Academy of Art and Culture in 1967 in Kolkata. Hisblack and white photosevoke an old world charm and touch with their ethereal frames of nature in myriad forms, from tender floating clouds to peaks of the Himalayas to trees and rain. Birla said, "I cultivated the hobby when I was in my early 20s and used to move out with the first ray of dawn with my camera in hand and capture the nuances of nature as they unfolded in all their splendour." He disclosed, "After a few years I shifted to other hobbies, but my passion for photography persisted."

Somany's show

Somany is also known for her books on spirituality. Her paintings ranged from nature and life in rural India to portraits. All her works were executed in subtle hues. As Somany said, "Although I have had several exhibitions they have never been for sale earlier, something we are doing now to raise money for charity."Like Birla with photography, Somany too started early. However, she took it seriously only after her husband's death, channelling her grief into something which gave her comfort, peace and serenity.As the organisers explained, "The entire proceeds from the auction will go to charities, Save the Children and the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission. Singh summed up, "I hope that the commitment exhibited by successive generations of the Birla clan is passed on to future generations as well."