3 September, 2017

Colour Theory

Photos: Manu Parekh

Text: Guardian 20

These artworks are taken with permission from Manu Parekh: 60 Years of Selected Works, a book of pictures published by Aleph. The book brings together the finest paintings and drawings Parekh has made in a career spanning 60 years.  

In an interview with Annapurna Garimella, published in the book, the artists says, “I do not become emotional about the ‘artistic process’. I operate like I am making a painting. Suppose I was designing a sari, the pattern has to come all over, right? I would put newspaper between sections and get on top of the printing table and say ‘Put a half inch black border.’ They would do that and then I would feel that a half inch red border should also be there. And a thin black line too. Only two colours are possible in Bagru and only two shades and one base colour. So the mind thinks very graphically. I would use that painterly element.”

29 August, 2017

Mythic Reality

Photos & text: Ojas Art Gallery

Master artist Lado Bai, known for creating visually scintillating art works, and protégé artist Subhash Amaliyar, along with three other artists of the Bheel community, will be exhibiting more than 50 artworks at a special show, titled Satrangi. These paintings bring folklore, mythology and daily anecdotes together in the form of acrylic colours on canvas.

Ladubai and Subhash Amaliyar Bhil won the third edition of the prestigious Ojas Art Award at Jaipur Literature Festival 2017. This year the award focused on excellence in Bheel Art and the awards were presented by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design MOMA, New York.

Speaking about the exhibition, Anubhav Nath, Curatorial Director of OJAS Art, says, “The art community has been very supportive of the OJAS Art Award. Over the coming years, we aim to evolve as the premier award in the tribal and traditional art space. As a step forward we will be displaying selected works at the upcoming JLF Boulder, Colorado, USA, which I think is a huge step in taking our culturally rich art forward.” 

The show is on view from 31 August to 24 September at Delhi’s Ojas Art Gallery

19 August, 2017

Modern Marvels

Photos & text: Triveni Kala Sangam

These images are from a group show called Through My Eyes, featuring four women artists: Bhartti Verma (paintings), Manju Tomar (ceramics), Chetnaa (paper works), and Vijaya Chauhan (terracota).

Sushma Vishwakarma, who has curated the exhibition, says, “I have closely watched the artistic evolution of Bhartti and Chetnaa since my college days, while Manju’s works caught my attention during the Garhi Art Festival 2017. Vijaya’s works, which were showcased at the Lalit Kala Akademi’s art exhibition, impressed me immediately. These women artists through consistent pursuit of their art have defined a distinct style and idiom of their own. Inspired by their work, I decided to showcase these talented artists on one platform.”

The show is on at Delhi’s Triveni Kala Sangam till 21 August

13 August, 2017

Tides of history

Photos & text: National Gandhi Museum

As we celebrate 70 years of India’s independence, the National Gandhi Museum and India International Centre have come together to present an exhibition, entitled Gandhi’s Vision: Freedom and Beyond.

Curated by Aparna Basu, former professor of history and Chairperson, National Gandhi Museum, the show presents photographs and documents depicting India’s freedom struggle under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership. Beginning with Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa in1915 and the first Satyagraha in Champaran in 1917, the exhibition showcases images of the Ahmedabad Mill workers’ strike, the Non-Cooperation Movement, Bardoli Satyagraha, Dandi March, Quit India Movement and Gandhi’s last days in Bihar and Noakhali.

The exhibition will also include a display of replicas of Gandhi’s ashrams, the flag used during the freedom struggle, replicas of Gandhi’s personal belongings, and original copies of magazines edited by Gandhi—such as Young India, Harijan, Navjivan—among other things. 

The exhibition is on view till 21 August at the Art Gallery, Kamaladevi Complex, India International Centre, Delhi

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.

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