Photos: Sujith S.N.
Text: Vadehra Art Gallery
These images are from an ongoing show, ARCHIPELAGO, featuring paintings by the Mumbai-based artist Sujith S.N. The works presented here can be interpreted as conversations with the city and its everyday realities, which Sujith has been engaged in for a few years now, but here he sets about articulating them in a more nuanced and abstract manner. The city is no longer the subject but is a matrix upon which his abstract ruminations are constructed.
Architectural forms give way to vast empty spaces, or alternatively dreamscapes, where the individual is seen lost in the act of doing nothing. Like the city made of numerous individual citizens, the archipelago emerges as a metaphor for society, as an entity in itself while simultaneously being as a collection of bodies. This exhibition is a reflection on the role of the photographic archive in a contemporary world of images and the importance to history and our common future of bringing female narratives to the forefront of social storytelling.
The exhibition is on view till 1 April at Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery
Photos: Various artists
Text: FOCUS Photography Festival
These images are from the exhibition titled, Photographing the Female which is a part of FOCUS Photography Festival Mumbai 2017. It is a transnational project and exhibition that explores female identity and representation in photography.
The exhibition brings together the work of 25 empowering voices from around the world whose photographic practices all explore a contemporary female experience via historically central themes like the body, sense of self, conformity and stigmatisation. The photographers speak to us from a myriad of vantage points uncovering social and personal realities that challenge perceptions of what it means to be female and forces the viewer to consider the consequences of society’s prescribed roles. Despite radical differences in style and approach an inescapable universality permeates the exhibition reminding us that the female is intrinsically connected to all of us and our very existence.
This exhibition is a reflection on the role of the photographic archive in a contemporary world of images and the importance to history and our common future of bringing female narratives to the forefront of social storytelling.
The exhibition is on view till 23 March at Mumbai
Photos: Rohit Chawla
Text: Tasveer Arts
The Inspired Frame, an exhibition of photographs by Rohit Chawla, pays tribute to three renowned and seminal artists: Raja Ravi Varma, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, alongside select works inspired by miniature paintings will be seen for the first time in public. The photographer has reconstructed tableaus and compositions as featured in famous works of art, using contemporary models to recreate life-like experiences of the originals. The exhibition is supported by Tasveer Arts.
According to Chawla, “These are artists whose works I liked and was inspired by. I have grown up on Raja Ravi Verma. It was a joy to photograph some of my favourite people as subjects in the project where I have turned paintings into photography idiom. I have employed my own sensibilities on Frida Kahlo and miniatures. I have worked with various fashion designers in this project. Where Sabyasachi has designed clothes for Frida’s series, Tarun Tahiliani made garments for models in Raja Ravi Varma’s series.”
The exhibition is on view till 18 March at Bikaner House, New Delhi
Photos: Waswo X. Waswo
Text: TARQ Gallery
These images are by the Udaipur-based American photographer Waswo X. Waswo, and are part of the show Photowallah, which opens on 10 March at TARQ Gallery, Mumbai, organised in collaboration with Tasveer Arts. The photographs form an essay in syncretistic processes and alternative artistic practice. Though Waswo remains the key photographer and director of these images, he consistently calls attention to the multiple agencies and complex collaborative processes that enabled their production. The backdrops have been painted by Zenule Khan, Chiman Dangi, Anil Atrish and Dalpat Singh Jingar, and he notes that they all work with teams of their own assistants. His own assistants often help with bringing the models, and they in turn, participate in their own imaging. After the photographs have been taken and printed, they are tinted by hand-colourist Rajesh Soni. These photographs are selected from his previous series’ A Studio in Rajasthan, Gauri Dancers and New Myths.
Playfully examining the genres of both the ethnographic photograph-as-document that is linked to the colonial era, as well as the fantasy-inspired make-believe that emanated from traditional Indian portrait studios in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Waswo creates a unique brand of contemporary photography that is an inspired mix of homage and critique. Ranging from shots of single figures to theatrically arranged tableaux, these photographs feature everyone from Gauri dancers to flower sellers, the incarnations of mythological figures, farmers and school children. In the tradition of pictorialism, Waswo’s carefully crafted images with their pastoral backdrops and hand-tinted processing resonate with a romantic sensibility, while yet remaining humorously self-aware and self-reflexive.
The exhibition is on from 10 March to 8 April
Photos & text: Vadehra Art Gallery
These untitled oil paintings, by acclaimed artist Ram Kumar, are from a recently concluded show at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi. Created from the year 2011 to 2016, the artworks display the recent works of the genius.
With one of the most significant art practices in the country, Ram Kumar’s works spanning six decades has made a tremendous contribution to Indian art. Born in Shimla in 1924, the artist studied Economics from St Stephens College in Delhi University before turning to art.
Ram left his job in banking to pursue his art practice in 1948 and went on to study painting in Paris under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger in 1949. Ram Kumar was deeply inspired from the social realistic works of artists such as Pignon, Kathe Kollowitz and Andre Fourgeron in the early years of his career. His works have over the years progressed from his early figurative drawings to the depictions of his travels around the mountains and later Varanasi to the abstracted landscapes he has done since.
Like Richard Bartholomew noted about Ram, ‘’Though Ram‘s world picture has not changed since the 1950s his imagery has undergone a process of synthesis, refinement and rarefiction. This has been a process of sublimination. There has been a subtractive process at work, as it were.”
Photos: Various photographers
These images are from JaipurPhoto, which is an international photography festival held in February every year at various locations in Jaipur. Titled A Festival on Wanderlust, the show questions the very notion of travel and offers alternative ways of approaching it: through artificial paradises, the fascinating habit of faking trips; through the photographic studio backdrop as a surrogate for imaginary trips; through the anthropological challenge of being simultaneously an insider and an outsider in a foreign culture, the notion of travel can degenerate in war and terroristic zones. Travel photography as a way to make the otherness of a foreign culture more understandable. The intriguing relationship between the media, illusions and expectations. And last but not least, travel through family and time as either psychological catharses or as a vehicle to re-enact ancient literary texts.
Mass tourism today seems to have adopted digital photography as a filter for experiencing travel, vicariously, through the camera. By obsessively recording every aspect of a trip or a work of art, is our memory itself taking the shape of photographs? How are we to understand another related compulsion: that of travellers inserting themselves ad nauseam into memorable settings, which may have the effect of trivializing heritage sites?
The show is on till 5 March
Photos: Parthiv Shah
Text: Roobina Karode
These images of the Indian modern painter M.F. Hussain are created by Parthiv Shah. Titled Sadak.Sarai.Sheher.Basti: The Recurring Figure, this exhibition is a component of a large show called Stretched Terrains: A String of Seven Exhibitiions, on at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Saket, New Delhi.
Mostly taken between 1992-1993, the 66 photographs in the show display the theatre of everyday life of the artist. It consists of many conversations, travels, accidental plans, and impromptu gestures. Parthiv captures Husain amid different situations — from reading a newspaper in a busy market and roaming the streets of Nizamuddin basti, knocking doors, listening to the poetry of a mechanic-poet who lives near the dargah, to drinking tea and walking barefoot.
Husain is revealed to us as he merges with the crowd or improvises and becomes an extension of his paintings. He is also sighted among friends. These photographs shift our attention to the peripheral and different levels of playfulness of Husain, the gypsy on the move.
The show is on till 31 July
Photos: K. C. S. Paniker
Text: Biswajit Banerjee & Josef James
These images are from Paniker, a recently launched art book on acclaimed artist K.C.S. Paniker. Paniker was a legendary painter and the founder of Cholamandal Artists’ Village. This art hub is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The book traces the artistic evolution of this path-breaking painter and is enriched with articles on Paniker’s art by the late publisher Ludwig Goldscheider, late art historian Josef James and history of art professor Rebecca Brown.
Paniker is considered a leading figure in the Madras Art Movement. The whole range of Paniker’s work, from early watercolours to the recent Words and Symbols series is laced with a kind of loveliness. The natural elements are profuse and are of an unearthly aspect.
The launch of the book is accompanied by an exhibition of the artists’ works at Sarala’s Art Centre, Chennai, on view till 10 February