7 September, 2015

Still Life

5 August, 2017

A Cosmic Balance

Photos: Aparna Bidasaria

Text: Guardian 20

These paintings, part of a show entitled Time and Being, are by the Indore-based artist Aparna Bidasaria, who re-introduces us through her art to the wonders of the banyan tree. The legendary tree is recognised as an enduring symbol of knowledge, protection and immortality here. The paintings display brilliance of colours and profundity of thought.

Bidasaria uses her variegated palette to present the enchanting banyan tree in its myriad forms: the roots of the tree descend from its branches and anchor it to the ground by eventually transforming into trunks, while the branches move heavenward to achieve a cosmic balance.

She has now marked a decade in art and is proficient in using charcoal, pastel, ink and acrylic, all of which bestow a sense of variety and depth to her paintings.

A total of 35 of Bidasaria’s paintings will be on view at the Hirji Gallery of Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery from 14-20 August

30 July, 2017

Natural History

Photos: Pankaj Sekhsaria

Text: Guardian20

These images are from an exhibition, titled Island Worlds, featuring works by photographer Pankaj Sekhsaria. Specially re-produced on silk fabric to create a new visual and aesthetic experience, these images display the many stories of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a world of mystery and charm we know so little about. The pictures are rich with a sense of startling beauty and magical lyricism. Ancient turtles nesting on desolate beaches, translucent jellyfish floating in rich tropical waters, whistling teals in the soft light of a reflected moon, all make turning away from a rich environment like this a challenge.

Island Worlds brings together Pankaj Sekhsaria’s two decades of photography in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sekharia is a researcher, writer and photographer who has extensively worked on environmental issues in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He has also authored four books on the islands.

The show is on view at The Art Gallery, Kamaladevi Complex, India International Centre, New Delhi till 2 August.

22 July, 2017

Urban Geometry

Photos: Parul Sharma

Text: Guardian20

These images are from Parulscape, a forthcoming architectural photography exhibition by Parul Sharma. Sharma is one of India’s foremost communications professionals and has been photographing urban landscape for the past two years. Her black and white photos capture the stark tonal beauty of lines and angles that imbue the contemporary architecture of various cities.  She calls her portfolio “Parulscape”—an alternative world, which is the result of her many travels and encounters.

Sharma seeks poetry in the stillness of spaces and shadows, in the geometry of structures and objects. According to the photographer, “In stillness I saw movement. In structures I saw patterns. In shadows I saw light. When a world filtered through a lens unfolded before me, everything I took for granted assumed a rare patina of life. The asymmetry of everydayness collapsed and a layered alternative emerged in the mesmerising rawness of black and white. It led me further to explore the realm where every object is a text and every space abandoned by our casualness is a context. I still travel alone in those spaces, enchanted by the perpetual shadow play. I look for stories in the muted shades I pass by every day.”

Her debut exhibition of photographs will be on display at Bikaner House in New Delhi from28 July to 30 July.


16 July, 2017

Breaking The Canon

Photos and text: Delhi Art Gallery Modern

These iconic paintings are on display at the Delhi Art Gallery Modern’s second edition of Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art. These artworks have been especially chosen to represent either an important point in some artist’s oeuvre, or a radical turn in the history of art. Collectively, they are an encyclopaedic survey of the absolute best that Indian art offers. Includes here are rare sketchbooks from Raja Ravi Varma, Ramkinkar Baij and Nandalal Bose; Laxma Goud’s immense wall mural in ceramic clay, perhaps his largest mural; historic paintings by Western artists; as well as artworks by such national treasures as Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore and Jamini Roy.

In this exhibition, we have showcased what is arguably F.N. Souza’s best painting, Man and Woman Laughing, and equally important works by S.H. Raza from the period immediately following his success in Paris after he won the Critics Award. There are historic works by M.V. Dhurandhar and Chittaprosad’s brilliant and moving depiction of the Bengal famine of the 1940s.

The show is on view till 15 September 2017

8 July, 2017

Multiple Viewpoints

Photos: Various Artists

Text: Gallery Nvya

These images are from a recently concluded show at Gallery Nvya, New Delhi. Titled Within Reach, the exhibition featured an eclectic mix of artworks by some of India’s young and emerging artists. In this eighth annual event by the gallery, a collection of original artworks, affordable and appealing in nature, were exhibited. For Nvya this was an opportunity to share the art that at present stands on the threshold of recognition and is filled with promise. Through the show, the organisers have provided a platform for emerging artists in a space shared with more established names. The artworks that affirm aesthetic sensibility, and celebrate the creative impulse that weaves colour and form into variegated manifestations of visual  reality, were given prominent space at the show. Some are sampled here.


2 July, 2017

Festival of togetherness

Photo & text: Mrigank Kulshrestha

Nhaan is a unique folk festival celebrated in the Hadoti region of Sangod, Rajasthan. Organised by the local NhanSamiti right after the festival of Holi, Nhaan involves dance performances by transgenders and other old-school theatrical shows. Sangod, during this time, comes alive with the folklore and traditional colours of Nhaan.

The main attraction here is the Swang, which is just like modern-day fancy dress competition. The villagers dress up in colourful attires, enacting different themes and even make strange gestures to the cheering of the local crowd. The events include swallowing snakes and daggers, sliding over a 100-feet-high road gradient, singing, dancing, acrobatics and black magic.

The origin of the festival is said to have been in 15th century to celebrate the martyrdom of a courageous man from the Gujjar community named Sanga. It is said he sacrificed his life, while fighting the warriors from 12 villages. Transgenders from far-flung places participate in the fanfare. This festival, where all the villagers also participate, is special because it gives considerable attention to transgenders who usually are not been paid any heed. The festival itself is a culture which is not seen in the towns anymore.

Villagers travel from far and wide to attend the Nahan Mela. However, the women of the villages do not attend the festivity due to social stigma attached to participation of transgenders. Men from all classes enjoy these performances, starting from dusk to dawn.

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 

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