Prof. Noelle acknowledged the work of Habib Rahman, an emblematic Indian architect of the Nehruvian era, who envisioned the architectural legacy and paved the way in shaping modern architecture of Delhi. She further elaborated on the concept of “An Imaginary City” – an exhibition of photographs of 19th and 20th century Mexican architecture by Luis Márquez, an avant garde photographer belonging to a generation of young artists who shaped the national identity after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).
The exhibition, “An Imaginary City” demonstrates the creation of cities through the ‘imagination’ or ‘vision’ of architects,through different layers and projects from the past and a futurist desire for modernity. Luis Márquez’s work, as Habib Raman’s, has to be observed as the collective efforts of artists and thinkers devoted to build a new aesthetic for a new born nation. Co-curated by Prof. Louise Noelle Gras and Dr. Lourdes Cruz González Franco, the exhibit was inaugurated by H.E. Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico to India, in the presence of Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Hina Zia, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Prof. Nuzhat Kazmi, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts and Prof. Mukesh Ranjan, Office of International Relations.
The 40 B/W images reproduced in this exhibition are from the Luis Márquez Romay Collection preserved in the Manuel Toussaint Photographic Archive at the Institute of Aesthetic Research of the UNAM. From a nostalgia for the past to a search for the ideal urban environment, the images are opportunities to visually reclaim the history and stimulate the imagination to bring to life an unknown city but loved and longed-for. The mix of photographs allows the viewer to construct an “imaginary city”, with the architecture of Mexico during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Prof. Noelle, a firm supporter of preserving 20th century architecture, gave a guided tour of the exhibit to the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, and expressed her appreciation for the mutually collaborative spirit built around the photographs of Luis Marquez exhibited as “An Imaginary City” at M.F. Husain Art Gallery, until 25 February 2018. The exhibition is also expected to be showcased for students in other cities across India.