This was the one thought which kept flashing through my mind the day I came face-to-face with A. Ramachandran’s art.
One of India’s leading contemporary artists, when Ramachandran [b. 1935], a native of the South Indian state of Kerala and alumnus of Santiniketan started painting, the world he saw around him was a sad, painful one filled with conflict and anguish. It was post-1947 and India was reeling from the aftermath of the partition whilst the world at large still carried the wounds of World War II. Continue reading →
“You have to concentrate on one idea. I usually offer one advice to young men, concentrate on one woman. One woman gives everything. One idea, in the same way, is sufficient for an artist.” ~ S.H. Raza
For Sayed Haider Raza [1922 – 2016], his one idea was the Bindu. The dot. He never tired of exploring and expressing it. The brackish circle against a passionate red square hanging on the wall in front of me reiterated his words, sucking me in, into another world. A world which Raza saw and was determined to give a voice to. Continue reading →
“No, there is no story to my art. My work is not even titled.”
“But you call it rockscapes, and I have heard you at times refer to them as mindscapes?”
Vinod Sharma laughs out aloud, and with a twinkle in his eye explains how his professor at Delhi College of Art coined the terms, albeit in passing.
“I just paint for the sheer joy of it. There is no other reason behind my delineations. There are no moral lessons. No deep revelations from my side. It is only personal joy.”
Sharma, originally from Delhi, has been painting his monumental monochromatic canvases—sophisticated in execution and mystical in content—for over two decades now. What started off as landscapes framed by windows later gave way to sceneries swathed in trees and people, and finally morphed into the present skeletal forms of the earth’s surface where Sharma got rid of all trappings and borders, for keeps. Continue reading →
There is the office ID card, the fancy pen, loose change, cell phone, a hand written note. Closer inspection brings to the fore yet further details: the worn Tee, crisp office linen shirt, the crumpled uniform, and slowly the faceless personalities defined by their shirt pockets fill the gallery, and I am in their midst.
“I do not care whether my paintings are good or bad. I want its appearance to be different.”
~ Jamini Roy
And different it is. Not different for the sake of being different, but different as in an expression of his authentic self. Jamini Roy (1887-1972), popularly conferred with the title of father of Modern Indian Art was from Beliatore village in Bankura, West Bengal. His art is his revisits to the simplicity and purity of his rural roots. He is not an outsider here ‘looking into’ rural India. He is the insider, painting his own familiar, much-loved world. Continue reading →
Indian contemporary art has come a long way in the last two decades, distinctive in its blend of Indian subjectivity and international sensibilities. A landmark in this journey for the modern art enthusiast, and the sports fan in this case, is its current foray into the space of cross-disciplinary creativity.
I had walked into the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai not knowing what to expect that day. Art and sport? I was the predictable, pseudo, purist audience steeped in self-indicted cynicism. I left the gallery a couple of hours later, overwhelmed and humbled with emotion, pride, and an insight into the complexities woven around a sporting legend and its artistic elucidations.
Ten of India’s finest modern art protagonists had come together for the first time, through ‘Deconstructed Innings,’ with the singular purpose of artistically interpreting the innings of one of the country’s greatest sporting heroes, collaborating with the icon himself. The result was an exhibition that was aesthetically beautiful and exhilarating in experience. Continue reading →