In what will be a memorable tribute to St Teresa of Calcutta on the eve her feast day, a Calcutta artist will throw open a so-far private archive of Mother Teresa to the public. Read on:
She first met Mother Teresa when she was just five years old, and has since been a regular visitor to Mother House. At 70, artist Ritu Singh is set to open a private archive of Mother Teresa to mark the second anniversary of the sainthood of the Albanian nun who had made the city her home.
It was during a visit to Mother that Singh discovered her inclination towards painting.
“My mum, who is now 90, was very close to the Mother. She worked with Mother and accompanied her to slums and villages almost every day. I would spend the whole day at Mother House under the supervision of the nuns. Even at that age, I was amazed at the way the sisters worked, the way they served the poor and destitute persons. And, of course, Mother was an inspiration. Sometimes, my mum would come back late. I would sit and sketch Mother and the sisters…. I have never stopped painting since then,” said the retired head of the art department at La Martiniere for Boys.
Singh has painted several pictures of Mother Teresa since then. Nearly 48 of them adorn the walls of her home- cum-gallery on Lower Rawdon Street that will be open to public from September 6.
In one of her works, Shraddhanjali, Singh depicts the floral offerings at Mother’s feet. The painting is in memory of a visit to Singh’s home by Mother on her birthday.
Another painting, Prasthan, shows Mother walking, signifying she is leaving the world.
One picture has Mother extending her arms to a group of children and another has Mother amidst the poor. In yet another picture, Mother is seen praying to Jesus. There is a series of paintings that depict Mother in all the zodiac signs that, according to Singh, signifies that Mother is for all.
All the paintings displayed are in mixed media, acrylic and oil.
The archive will also include mementos Mother had gifted Singh on her birthday over the years along with a copy of The Bible, also a gift from Mother.
Many more paintings and rare objects associated with the life of Mother will be displayed later, Singh said.
“I was blessed to accompany Mother to several programmes in India and abroad. I have decided to open the archive for the common people because Mother is for all. She believed in love. I want to share the love Mother bestowed on me,” she said.
The archive will be formally inaugurated on September 4. “The archive, along with an exhibition, will be open to visitors from 2pm to 5pm on all weekdays except on Tuesdays,” said Reshmi Chatterjee, the curator.