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Nicholas Roerich: A Quest & A Legacy

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: Manju Kak’s fiction, essays, critical reviews, and articles have appeared in newspapers, journals, anthologies and magazines in India and abroad since 1990. She has a Ph.D in Art History from the National Museum, New Delhi,and has been a teacher and Visiting Professor of art history, literature and cultural studies in Delhi, UK and Hong Kong. Her works include First Light in Colonelpura; Requiem for an Unsung Revolutionary and Whose Media—a Woman’s Space. She is the recipient of the Hawthornden fellowship among many others.She has been particularly drawn to Himalayan ethnography and culture and has researched and curated exhibitions on the same, including ‘A Craftsman and his Craft:Iconography of Woodcarvings of Kumaon’ (1998), ‘The Uttarkhand Development Report—Handicrafts’ (2003) and ‘N. Roerich, Painter of the Himalayas —the Roerich Peace Pact & Banner of Peace’ (2009). She has also directed a documentary film, They Who Walked Mountains (2002), about the erstwhile salt trade routes from India to Tibet. She lives in New Delhi and Ranikhet.

: Nicholas Roerich continues to arouse the interest of extensive scholarship, both adulatory and critical. Some give him the status of a demigod, while others relegate him to being a maverick, an adventurer with megalomaniacal delusions, a dabbler in spiritual ideas of unsubstantiated depth. Controversies aside, the question often asked is: what is the draw and pull of a man who was, in his final avatar, a painter of mountains? This anthology of essays on the artist seeks to answer just this. The contributors—scholars, disciples, practitioners—have looked at Roerich’s life from varying perspectives to explain his multi-faceted personality. Through these writings, one hopes to come to a holistic understanding of the man and his times.

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