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FOR Sir V.S. Naipaul's Nobel Prize Diploma (he won it for Literature in 2001), Swedish artist Bo Larsson drew a floral painting with flowers in an oddly-shaped vase. The vase, in fact, was the map of Sir Vidia's country of birth --Trinidad and Tobago.

The Nobel Prize diplomas are unique to each prize winner and an exhibition showcasing copies of some famous diplomas is on at the India Habitat Centre currently, as a part of the ongoing Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week. And Swedish calligrapher Annika Rucker, who has been creating these diplomas since 1988, is in town to explain her art.

A Nobel Prize Diploma is the citation handed over to the winners every year on December 10 when they are awarded the most prestigious prize in the world instituted by the Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896).

Bound in leather, it carries a painting on the left page and the citation on the right. The leather cover comes embossed with a monogram of the winner's initials, designed by Rucker. The 68-year old-calligrapher delivered a lecture on the process of the creation of the diplomas on Wednesday, showcasing examples of some memorable ones, like those awarded to Tagore, C.V.

Raman and Dr Hargobind Khurana to name a few. "These diplomas are my children," says Rucker, who has designed 174 diplomas so far, including those to be given away this year. In fact, Rucker's India visit has happened at a rather less conducive time -- the 2010 Nobel Prizes were announced earlier this month and not much time is left for the ceremony in December. "I don't get to know about the winners till the end so creating the diplomas is always a rushed affair," she informs.

The colour of the leather cover is chosen by the Royal Swedish Academy --blue for physics, red for chemistry, brownish for economics and various for literature. Similarly, the citation for literature is written on parchment while for others, it's on Swedish hand-made paper.

Rucker works with a team of four artists who create paintings for various streams in rotation. Artists too are inspired by the winners' personality/ their area of work, for the left page paintings -- for Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who won the prize for Chemistry in 2009, the diploma had an abstract painting.

The exhibition, meanwhile, also includes some representative canvases of Swedish art; this part of the exhibition is curated by Swedish art historian Oscar Aschan, who recently held the first large-scale show of contemporary Indian art in Gothenburg, which according to him, was a super success.

--The exhibition is on at the Convention Foyer, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, till October 31, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:5TRIN
Date:Oct 29, 2010
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