Mexico Is Searching For 7 Indians Who Painted At '68 Olympics
Fifty years ago, in 1968, the Olympic Games were hosted in Mexico, a first in the whole of Latin America. Along with that Mexico also hosted World Festival of Children’s Painting and invited entries from all over the world. Children from 80 countries participated in the festival, and a total of eight children participated from India as reported by the Times of India. The theme for the festival was ‘Un Mundo de Amistad’, meaning, ‘A World of Friendship’.
Now, after fifty years Mexico is searching for all the participants who took part in that festival in order to honour their contribution. The reason behind it is that Mexico is planning for an exhibition for a project ‘A world of friendship – 50 Years later’. In the exhibition, the surviving pieces will be showcased from the original collection of 1,800 pieces. The Mexico government has asked its embassies worldwide to search for the participants to acknowledge their contributions as issued in their statement.
The Embassy is planning to present the framed copy of the painting to the participants along with the certificate of commendation to mark the 50th Anniversary of the event.
Eight Children Participated from India
As per the embassy, about the Indian participants, all they have as an information is their names and age. The participants were Sujata Sharma (then aged 14), Jitendra Navital Parikh (15), Ira Sachdeva (12), Sanat Kundu (13), Vivek Kuchibhatla (9), Ela Ems (8) and Leela Sudakaran. Out of these participants Vivek, Ela and Leela were speculated to have gone to Mexico with Indian contingent to paint Murals that were exhibited along Avenue Paseo de la Reforma.
By far the embassy was able to find whereabouts of one participant- Jitendra Navital Parikh with the help of Ketan Trivedi, Ahmedabad based journalist. But unfortunately he died in 1998 due to prolonged illness.
Melba Pria told The Indian Express on Monday “We want to locate these children, who are now adults, and want to find out about their life’s story…and want them to join us in the celebrations.”
Shankar International Children’s Art Competition
There are speculations that the Indian children may have participated with the help of Keshav Shankar Pillai- a famous Indian cartoonist also known as ‘Shankar’, through Shankar International Children’s Art Competition. As per the report by Times of India Yamuna Shankar, general manager of the Children’s Book Trust told the Mexican embassy that Pillai would select the best paintings from the competition and submit them to international events.
The embassy has released and circulated the images of the paintings along with one picture of Leela Sudakaran in Mexico with fellow participants from the publication. They have invited anyone with the information about the participants to visit their office at New Delhi.
Mexican Government is surely winning hearts for the efforts they are making to recognise the contribution made by them and to celebrate the World of Friendship in true sense.