7 September, 2015

Still Life

25 June, 2017

Looking at night

Photos ; Sutirtha Chatterjee

Text: Tasveer

Sutirtha Chatterjee is one of the winners of the Toto-Tasveer Award for Photography 2017.

His series, The Sixth Sense, is concerned with schools for the blind, and has won this prestigious prize amid tough competition. Each year, Tasveer and Toto Funds for the Arts accepts applications for this award from young and emerging photographers between the ages of 18 and 29, and two winners are selected from the applicants. The application for the 2018 award can be sent in till 31 August 2017. 

The Sixth Sense is a series of portraits of visually-impaired students from a blind school in Kolkata. According to the photographer, “Blind schools are important institutions in imparting education to visually-impaired children in India. Over the years, studies in child development, sociology, and special education have led to the conclusion that blind children grow, flourish, and achieve greater self- and social-fulfillment by being nurtured in the least restrictive environment. Through local education, supported by well-prepared specialists in the education of the blind, these children can enjoy everyday common experiences essential to the development of a keen awareness of the world around them. The way ahead is schooling system, the institutions that allow for the hope filled possibility of education and rehabilitation for children. It is the only place where we can enable them to blend into an everyday life of dignity and self-sufficiency.”

17 June, 2017

Forest Song

Photos & text: Vadehra Art Gallery

These paintings by A. Ramachandran are from the ongoing show at Vadehra Art Gallery titled Gallery Collection: Landscapes.

Ramachandran initially painted in an Expressionistic style that reflected the angst of urban life, particularly the suffering he saw when visiting the city of Kolkata, but by the 1980s his style had undergone a vital change. From urban reality he moved his focus towards tribal community life; especially the tribes from Rajasthan, whose lives and culture gripped his imagination. The vibrant ethos of Rajasthan and his research on the mural paintings of Kerala influenced his expression. The decorative elements and myths became an integral part of his works and his powerful line along with a greater understanding of colour and form created a dramatic ambience. His sculptures, which he made in the later years, were almost three dimensional translations of his paintings, containing multiple narratives and mythological interpretations.

As a student at Kala Bhavan in Santineketan, Ramachandran studied art under masters like Ramkinkar Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee. The cultural and intellectual milieu of Santiniketan drew him closer to the art traditions of India and other eastern civilisations and it is here that he began his lifelong research on the mural painting tradition of temples in Kerala. The artist lives and works at New Delhi.

The exhibition is on view till 30 June at Vadehra Art Gallery, D-40, Defence Colony, New Delhi

10 June, 2017

Graphic Display

Photos & text:  Vadehra Art Gallery

These artworks by Renuka Reddy and Treibor Mawlong are on display at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi.

Some of the artists in the summer collection on at Vadehra Art Gallery, engage with the “graphic” medium which has been intrinsic to the artistic practice and production. Whether it is through illustrations in books or in animations with drawings, the medium allows for an experiment between text and image, between oral and drawn. It engages with the aspect of narratives in a distinct manner and not always as contained within the art historically known traditional paradigms. It carries the potential to create a different kind of language to make certain stories and histories visible, which may not always be possible through other mediums.  
Treibor Mawlong creates woodcut prints, recording characters as if they are in a moment of decision between thought and action. His ongoing project Khasi Folktales, is a graphic novel in Khasi, (a language spoken by the indigenous Khasi tribe in Meghalaya) where he is translating his experience of his native city, Shillong chronicling the folk tales of the tribe.
Humour plays a key role in the monoprints, zines, and drawings of Renuka Rajiv. Using malleable materials like coffee, ink and thread her works have textual comments interspersed with images offering in-congruent accounts of characters she observes around her.

The exhibition is on view at Vadehra Art Gallery,D-53, New Delhi till 24 June 

3 June, 2017

The End Of The Road

Photos: Mahesh Shantaram

Text: Tasveer

In this series, titled The African Portraits, photographer Mahesh Shantaram has documented the lives of Africans living in India.

Following an increasing number of racial attacks in India in the recent past, and particularly spurred by the shocking attack of a young Tanzanian woman by a mob in January 2016 in Bangalore, Shantaram set out on a project to increase awareness of the everyday racism and discrimination faced by Africans in India. Beginning with Bangalore, he travelled to Jaipur, Delhi and Manipal, choosing to particularly focus on students, as they are an extremely small and vulnerable group; having nowhere to go to seek redressal for their injustices in a society that is so prejudiced against them.

With this project, Shantaram, a subjective-documentary photographer turns to formal portraiture for the first time. Each photograph in this ongoing project is preceded by time shared between Shantaram and his subject. This allows for the development of trust and a level of comfort and ease—reflected both in front of the lens and behind-the-scenes, in the stories they share with him. The fact that most of these images are taken at night adds to the atmosphere of intimacy captured; and the stillness of the night is accentuated by the fact that Shantaram opts for slow shutter speeds that require posing for longer periods of time.

The show is on view till 16 June at Delhi’s Exhibit 320

27 May, 2017

The Evil That Men Do

Photos: Mrigank Kulshrestha

Text: Guardian20

These images are from an untitled project, by the photographer Mrigank Kulshrestha. In this ongoing work, Kulshrestha is documenting the struggles of families in the Northeastern states of India, which have fallen victim to the brutal practice of witch-hunting.

Witch-hunting is an ancient persecutionary rite, born of the superstition that involved labelling women as witches and then subjecting  them to extreme torture. Any random trait or tendency could be taken for witchcraft. For instance, any woman who would refuse the advancements by  other men could be denounced as a witch. Such instances are still common  in various parts of the country.

According to Kulshrestha, “I want to give an identity to this violence, in order to  bring it to the forefront. I photographed this predicament in the rural areas of Meghalaya and Assam. The Assam State Legislature has passed Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill in 2015 to control the dreadful practice. There are still many instances of witch-hunting in the locality. The number of women  killed after being labelled as ‘witches’ has now outnumbered the number of women living in a particular village there. People are the victim of poverty and illiteracy and I  want to help them in some way, to help end this mayhem.”


20 May, 2017

Basics Of Form And Content

Photos: Venkat Raman Singh Shyam

Text: Guardian20

These images from the exhibition, A Patch of Blue, are presently displayed at Gallery Art and Aesthetic by prominent Gond artist Venkat Raman Singh Shyam.

The Gond tribal community is one of India’s largest indigenous community. They are mainly found in Madhya Pradesh and its surrounding states. The word Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains in the Dravidian idiom. 

The Gonds traditionally painted on mud walls of their houses. Their art is an expression of their everyday quest for life. They believe that “viewing a good image begets good luck”. This inherent belief led the Gonds to decorating their houses and the floors with tradition tattoos and motifs.

Born in 1970, Venkat Shyam has been sketching and painting since he was seven years old. Every scrap of paper, even the blank spaces on the walls of his home were covered with his charcoal drawings. From culture specific painting to highly abstract themes, Venkat has done it all. He feels an artist must bring a freshness to the time honoured themes. “When one looks at my paintings, one must feel they are traditional but at the same time, there have to be new elements in them,” he says. Through his artistic journey of three decades, Venkat has integrated both modern and traditional stylistic influences in his work

The show is on view till 3 June

14 May, 2017

Shreds of art

Photos: Taha Ahmad

Text: Guardian20

These images are from the series Swan Song of the Badlas by Taha Ahmad. Here the photographer has documented the embroidery art of Lucknow called “Mukaish Badla.” He was recently awarded the Neel Dongre Awards/Grants for Excellence in Photography (2017) by India Photo Archive Foundation on this project.

Ahmad was born in Lucknow, in 1994. He developed an interest in documentary photography while pursuing his bachelor’s degree from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia. According to the photographer, “Lucknow’s arts and crafts have been flourishing since time immemorial and are still a part of every family in Lucknow. But with a shift in the city’s landscape, the craft form “Mukaish Badla” is on the verge of being extinct. 

The once valued craft form which ruled the heart of Lucknow is now restricted only to a few narrow lanes of the city. “Badla”, here is referred to the artisans who perform this craft by inserting metallic wires of gold and silver into the fabric, eventually twisting it to create metallic embroidery. The Badlas, all of whom aged above 65, make a bare minimum of Rs 100-150 a day. The city once had more than 3000 artisans but now the number has come down to just 20-25. Badlas complain about the government apathy and exploitation by their employers. The craft and the craftsmen might soon be wiped out from the city due to modernization termed as development.”

6 May, 2017

Eastern Lore

Photos: Serena Chopra

Text: Tasveer Arts

These images are from Bhutan Echoes, an exhibition supported by Tasveer Arts. They were taken by the photographer Serena Chopra over a decade ago. 

Chopra first visited Bhutan in 2002. In repeated trips to the country over the years, she not only travelled into the interiors and hidden valleys of this Himalayan kingdom, but also lived as a guest in many Bhutanese homes. This provided her with an intimate experience of the lifestyle of the Bhutanese people, and of the beliefs that governed them. She notes that as she got to know the Bhutanese people better, she began to “photograph them with a vision that came from a more subtle understanding of their truth”. Resisting judgement, she captures the unique landscape of this country with its surprising blend of the secular and the religious, myth and reality, the traditional with the modern, and the immense contrast between Bhutan’s smaller townships and its faraway ancient villages.

The show is on view till 14 May at Bikaner House, New Delhi 

29 April, 2017

Mapping A Dream

Photos: Various Photographers

Text: Guardian 20

These images are from the exhibition 30@30.30, a group show which is on view at the Dinodia Gallery in Mumbai. Though the gallery was started four years ago by Jagdish Agarwal, the Dinodia Picture Agency by Agarwal came into being in 1987, making it the first photo agency of India running on international photo agency systems. Agarwal had the experience of submitting pictures to
international picture agencies, which led him to start this endeavour. Not just this, Dinodia was the first photo agency in India to shoot assignments in India for clients from all over the world.

The present exhibition aims to present and honour photographers associated with the gallery for the past 30 years. These photographers have done considerable work in their respective fields, and won countless awards and accolades. According to Agarwal, “1 April 2016 marks the 30th year of Dinodia Picture Agency. As a proud part of this progress I wanted to document the blossoming of my dream through various photographers. I also wanted to give due credit to the photographers and their excellent photographs.”

The exhibition is on view till the end of June 2017


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