ART: Orchid Society honours Hemlata

ART: Orchid Society honours Hemlata – Kalimpong’s gifted Botanical Illustrator par excellence – but naturally ?!!

A beautiful illustration of an orchid variety in bloom: inset on top right, Hemlata Pradhan - a unique, practical, lucrative and opportune 'passion' that all Hill People should emulate in their own humble fields - the "labour of love culture" ?!!

From Darjeeling Times
By DT Correspondent

Darjeeling, June 9: The World renowned Freelance Botanical Illustrator Hemlata Pradhan, MA RCA of Kalimpong is a gifted Botanical Illustrator, who paints Orchids and other plants and immortalizes them on paper.

She was honoured by the Orchid Society of India at New Delhi on June 7, 2010 by presenting two certificates and Padma Bivusan T N Khosu Memorial award in recognition of her service towards evoking awareness by her beautiful paintings among the people in general worldwide in preservation of environment and protection of rear species of plants particularly Orchids.

The award giving ceremony was held in NIPGR hall New Delhi and was attended by the Sri N. G. K Menon internationally renowned Scientist in Botany, Prof. N. K. Sharma of Calcutta University, Prof. Deepak Pental the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University and other luminaries.

She was born in Kalimpong in December 3, 1974 in the family of Sri Udai C Pradhan and Smt.Pradhan. Her father Sri Udai C Pradhan is also a renowned horticulturist and an inspiration to Hemlata in her childhood to begin her painting hobby which later developed into a career.

In the program in Delhi two varieties of orchids cultured by Sri Udai C Pradhan were officially named after him.

After graduation from Kala Bhawan, Viswa Bharati Santinitaken University, Calcutta in 1998, Hemlata received a grant from Elizabeth Graanshields Foundation, Canada to study Botanical Illustration at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, England, U.K which she passed with distinction.

Thereafter, she received DFID Scholarship from the Association of Commonwealth Universities, London U.K and completed her Master’s Degree in Natural History Illustration and Ecological Studies from the Royal College of Art, London.

Her works were exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society Shows in London winning two Bronze, one Silver, one Silver-Gilt and the Gold in December 2000.

She is the first Indian to win the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal and the 18th World Orchid Conference Gold Medal in France for her paintings of Indian Jewel Orchids and the Indian Wild Orchids in habitat. Most of her works are housed at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.

The Government of Bhutan has honoured Hemlata Pradhan by printing Postal Stamps with the pictures of Orchids painted by her.

Being a native of Kalimpong she is building the Himalayan Institute of Natural History Art in Kalimpong with an aim to offer a new outlook to the field of Fine Art where respect for nature and the environment will be its basis.

The Institute will be the first of its kind in the Indian Region offering courses in Natural History Illustration and Ecology Studies. Its aim will be to bring about awareness of our dwindling natural heritage and aid in conservation of the environment and all things natural, while also providing skills in fine art to bring about economic benefits.

EDUCATION: Language is no barrier for achievers – even in Bengali, a beautiful language ?!!

From Darjeeling Times
By DT Correspondent

Darjeeling, June 9: A Gorkha girl, Miss Taradevi Thapa, a student of Mal Adarsha Vidhya Bhawan studied in Bengali medium and scored highest marks in this year’s Higher Secondary Examination. She got ‘A’+ in three subjects and ‘A’ in rest of the subjects. The Head Master of the School Sri Sukanta Gosh said that though Taradevi is not a Bengali she scored 80 % in Bengali Language. In School final also she had scored a total of 554 marks.

She comes from a very poor family. Her father Sri Prakash Thapa suffers from mental ailment and her mother Smt Sukmaya Thapa is a dish washer in a hotel at Malbazar, Dist. Jalpaiguri. Her grandmother Smt. Narmaya Thapa bears all her school expenses including uniforms.

Miss Taradevi Thapa wants to take honours in Geography and wants to become a College Professor in future. Perhaps those who have money and mind should help Taradevi to realize her dream.

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