International Gallerie was conceived by one person's simple, single-minded belief in the rich, diversity of the world's cultures and the powerful universality of ideas. In an increasingly cynical world, the idea captured the imagination of a core group of people comprising design and print professionals, photographers, writers... and advertisers.
Encouraged by this support, its founder-publisher and editor, Bina Sarkar Ellias, launched the first issue of International Gallerie in July 1997. That issue was an instant success - not in numbers, but in terms of its quality of readers. The inaugural issue and subsequent issues went on to win no less than 10 national and international awards for excellence.
What began as an arts and literary journal that focused on creative excellence worldwide, soon evolved into a socio-cultural forum on global issues - stringing art, music, theatre, cinema, poetry and travel into a cohesive theme.
Opposing violence, for example, in the 3rd issue. Or believing in a world without divides - race, caste, ethnic - in the 4th. The 5th issue was dedicated to the War Child. The 6th to Freedom and Censorship. The 7th issue was dedicated to the much-needed bridging of divides between India and Pakistan. The 8th issue critiqued Beauty - preconceived notions and stereotypes. The 9th issue, an exploration of cultural links between France and India. The 10th, a response to 9/11 & Gujarat, people & places in conflict. The 11th issue is an inquiry. What Mahatma Gandhi means to us today. Is it not time to evoke his teachings of compassion & non-violence? The 12th issue is a departure: A celebration of Rain. Gallerie's 13th issue is dedicated to Kashmir. Its conflict of 15 years. The 14th issue highlights women. Women who have empowered themselves and made a difference to their own lives and that of the community. The 15th issue explores multiculturism in Britain while the 16th issue views the earth from various interesting perspectives. Gallerie.s 17th issue titled, "Two Bengals" traces the shared culture of Bangladesh and West Bengal. The 18th issue is a celebration of books. The 19th issue is a study of contemporary culture in Iran. The 20th anniversary issue is "Beyond Boundaries." The 21st issue "Japan Now" features the best of Japan's creative community, its contemporary socio-political concerns. The 22th issue: "The Sacred & Profane", is a discourse on religion while the forthcoming 23rd issue is a socio-political and cultural perspective of Afghanistan.
Gallerie is produced by a very small group of people comprising the editor-designer, a DTP operator, a print and production executive. It presently sustains itself through the editor's own personal resources, well-wishers, occasional grants and the support of processors and printers who work on a near-cost basis out of their belief in the magazine.
A look at the 22 issues show how Gallerie has evolved into a meaningful forum. Each new issue pleases the sensibilities as much as it challenges and disturbs; celebrates life even as it holds up a mirror to our collective conscience.
In the words of noted art critic, Mel Gooding, who inaugurated the 4th "Race" issue at the Nehru Centre in London on September 6, 1999, "Gallerie draws my attention to what I didn't know or what I thought I never needed to know... it is positive and passionate."
At the same event, Gilane Tawadros, Director of the International Institute of Visual Arts, London, remarked how refreshing it was for her to discover Gallerie in a "post-everything" world where even idealism was out of fashion.