On January 30, 2012 the International Centre of the Roerichs hosted an evening in commemoration of Svyatoslav Roerich, the illustrious Russian artist, philosopher, naturalist, and humanist. The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the Order of Merit IV grade to Lyudmila V. Shaposhnikova, Director General of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich.
The decree «On Conferring State Awards of the Russian Federation» was issued by the President of Russia in December 2011. Among the persons awarded was Lyudmila V. Shaposhnikova, First Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs, Director General of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. She was awarded for the great contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and her long-term educational and public activity. The Order of Merit was presented to L.V. Shaposhnikova by Mr Alexander A. Avdeev, Russian Minister of culture, on behalf of the Russian President.
In his greeting speech Mr Avdeev said: «The Museum named after Nicholas Roerich is one of the most significant museums of Moscow which is culturally important not only for Moscow but also for the whole country. It is due to your selfless work that it has become a large international scientific and cultural center. You and Svyatoslav N. Roerich had been bound by the ties of good friendship for over 20 years. It was a good decision of his to entrust to you the unique heritage of his parents, as you have managed to make the Roerichs’ dream of creating a Centre-Museum in their Motherland come true. Preservation, research activities and popularization of the invaluable cultural heritage of the Roerichs has become the main work of your life. That is what people say about you – that your entire life is dedicated to the Roerichs… I admire and appreciate your energy and devotion… For many years you have been debunking the tales about the life and oeuvre of this outstanding family. You keep struggling for their heritage and explaining their philosophical system. Thank you for your fortitude to both fight for culture and to create it».
Responding to the Minister’s speech, Mrs L.V. Shaposhnikova thanked him for his kind words and congratulations: «During the whole period of the Museum existence I had to apply to many senior officials who worked in the field of culture. But Mr Alexander A. Avdeev is the first minister of culture who really helped us to preserve our Museum activities. He figured out the difficult situation created by the ill-wishers swarming around our Museum and supported the International Centre-Museum of the Roerichs. It is a double pleasure for me to receive this award form this decent and courageous person».
Mr D. Idevkhten, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia in Russia, awarded Mrs Luydmila V. Shaposhnikova with an Honorary Doctor Diploma of the Academy of sciences of Mongolia. In his greeting speech he said: «It is my first visit to your Museum, and I am delighted with what I have seen here. I am deeply grateful to Mrs Shaposhnikova for the preservation of the high culture. The Roerichs can be called ambassadors of good will between Russia and Asia, or between Asia and Russia».
Mrs Shaposhnikova told the audience how she was working together with the crew filming a movie on N. Roerich in Mongolia in 1975. «I was deeply impressed with the beauty of this country. The ancient culture is wonderful, just as the unusual combination of steppes and mountains and the kindness of all the people we met during our expedition.» Russia and Mongolia are united with continuous cultural ties. It was Prof. Shagdaryn Bira, historian, culture expert, world-known scientist, George Roerich’s disciple, who headed the Mongolian Roerich society and opened the House-Museum of the Roerichs in Ulan-Bator. He is a regular participant of the International Centre of the Roerichs annual international conferences.
The event also featured a presentation of the newly acquired sketches and drafts by S. Roerich from the collection of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. The presentation was made by Ms Olga S. Glebova, senior staff scientist of the ICR Expertise Department. The collection recently acquired by the ICR, belonged to the Thakkars, an Indian couple who were friends of S. Roerich and often visited him in his Bangalore estate. S.Roerich gave them many sketches as a remembrance. They had thus collected a folder of about 150 sketches created in the period from 1930-s to 1980-s. Ms Glebova said: «Purchasing this collection makes the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich one of the largest owners of graphic works by S. Roerich. What is even more important is that it gives us a possibility of a more in-depth study of S. Roerich oeuvre.»
The International Centre of the Roerichs has already started the work on studying the collection, as reported by Mrs Olga E. Tsvetkova and Mr Mikhail M. Blagodar, editor and designer of the ICR Publishing Department respectively, and Mr Dmitry Y. Revyakin, expert custodian of the ICR Travelling Exhibit Department. During their reports they showed sketches and drawings from the new collection.
The evening ended with the performance by the dance collective of the Jawaharlal Nehru Indian cultural center in Moscow.