France bestowed Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters on Ebrahim Alkazi, 28 September 2012
On behalf of the French government, Ambassador of France to India, Mr. François Richier conferred the distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), on theatre legend and patron of the fine arts and culture Ebrahim Alkazi.
Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred the distinction on Mr. Alkazi at the ongoing photo exhibition, “Mastering the Lens: before and after Cartier-Bresson in Pondicherry”.
The photographs at the core of this exhibition, drawn exclusively from the Alkazi Collection of Photography, form part of an unpublished album of French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who clicked the last pictures of Sri Aurobindo Ghose in the company of his spiritual companion, “The Mother”.
Ebrahim Alkazi is the recipient, among many other honours, of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, and Akademi Award, a reflection of his distinctive contribution spanning the spheres of theatre, fine arts and culture at the national and international levels. Heading the NSD (1962-1977), he built it up into a truly national institution with an encompassing outlook that embraced the classical Sanskrit drama, traditional and folk forms, contemporary Indian drama in the regional languages, and Western drama from the Greeks to the present day. The NSD’s Repertory Company, founded by Alkazi, took landmark plays in regional languages to the far corners of the country, building up a new awareness, taste and sense of artistic responsibility in the theatre profession and with the public at large.
Alkazi’s equally momentous endeavours for appreciation and encouragement of contemporary Indian art opened up a new world of awareness and understanding for the serious student of art and the layman. Art Heritage, a gallery for contemporary art, was founded in 1977 by Mrs Roshen Alkazi, and they have since presented over 350 exhibitions, ranging from distinguished artists including Somnath Hore, Tyeb Mehta, F.N. Souza, M.F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee, K.G. Subramanyan, among others. Art Heritage takes pride in discovering and presenting talented young artists, most of whom have become leading practitioners in their own right over the years.
The well-documented and impeccably presented exhibitions of Art Heritage and The Alkazi Collection of Photography seek to serve the perceptive connoisseur, art historian and serious student of art, whose interests go deeper than passing fashions, into gaining an understanding and appreciation of art that is likely to endure.