28 Aug 2014

Review: ‘Torrents’ at Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore

Gandhi by Anthony Joseph, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artistArt Review:  ‘Torrents’ - Conflicts of power, self and society at Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore

Six young artists from Southern India, some of whom have recently passed out from art college and others who are still studying in their final year have brought together an exhibition of their recent works in Bangalore.

Although, it might be considered a tad early for them to think about exhibiting their works, I feel that it actually gives them a head start. Based on critical opinion and other feedback from visitors, these artists have an excellent opportunity to expand their oeuvre and fine tune their skills. How they choose to use these inputs is of course entirely up to them.

Painting by Anju Acharya, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artistGandhi as an image and an icon is revered universally, but at the same time the name is often racked by controversies and scandals by a certain segment of the population. Anthony Joseph explores and portrays these paradoxical elements. One of the works titled, ‘The Story of My Experiments with Gandhi’ is quite apt for most of his works on display. Collages made of currency notes folded in a manner similar to Origami question the relevance and interpretation of Gandhian values in today’s context.

Anju Acharya’s fantasy world imagines humans and mutants, symbolizing a mutating world perhaps the effects of environmental degradation. A glimpse into a future, which may well be taking shape. After all, we are playing God!

Vikas S draws inspiration from the simple beauty of patterns in nature and recreates the rhythm and form through shapes, symmetry and movements of primitive organisms such as snails and centipedes. Pleasant works!
Painting by Vikas S, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artist
P Ramesh has sometimes borrowed figures from Greek mythology to represent and emphasize contemporary urban issues. Male dominance, violence against women, literacy and again the burden of decay in environment are some of the issues highlighted here.
Painting by P Ramesh, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artistPainting by Ebey Edassery, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artist
Bird Painting by Ashil Antony, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artistAshil Antony's paintings appear to be spontaneous sketches of birds, placed stark and dark against a white background. Ebey Edassery paintings are based on human emotions - angst, greed and desire which are depicted through a few figurative works and others which on the surface appear to be constructed from repetitive patterns and motifs.

Overall, the exhibition is a good attempt to reach out to a larger audience and there are a few interesting works here. However, I feel the disjointed effect could have been completely avoided by careful selection of the works either through a self curatorial effort or with the help of an external advisor.

On view till August 31st at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore. 
Let me know if you visit the show. And, which works did you like?

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7 Aug 2014

Touch of Colour With Art

 Transform your home with an exclusive work of art - hand painted furniture adds a splash of vibrant colours in interiors

Hand painted furniture by artist Yusuf Arakkal, Image courtesy artist, Art Scene IndiaEverybody looks for that special and unique element in our surroundings, which can stand out and create a statement and define their style. Art has an intrinsic ability to transform the dynamics of the space and create an instant impression about the owner’s personality and taste. Paintings and sculptures are commonly used in home décor and are traditional forms of art; there are several other innovative and unconventional options.
Hand painted furniture by artist Mahirwan Mamtani, Image courtesy artist, Art Scene India
One can opt for unusual and fun objects that are personalized, for instance hand painted furniture or other functional objects. Hand painted furniture such as tables and chairs have been popular for a long time, and limited edition and exclusive pieces painted by artists are also coveted for their distinctive style and individuality.
Hand painted furniture by artist Mahirwan Mamtani, Image courtesy artist, Art Scene India
The idea is to display an original piece of artwork which completely fits into the space, yet reflects your personality faithfully. Therefore, a piece of furniture painted by an artist into a colourful work of art can easily become a centerpiece - these can be fun and quirky, have a vintage feel or have a folk art influence!
One can obtain these objects of furniture from art exhibitions which are built around such concepts or have
Article published in The Times of India-The Address, Bangalorean artist create it according to your specifications. The latter allows greater freedom and helps in personalizing the artwork completely, and in the process helps in creating something totally unique.

Functional and utilitarian objects are rarely seen as objects of décor and adding a dash of colour and personality to them can be immensely satisfying. Art need not always be serious and contemplative, but can also be whimsical. On the other hand, artist designed and painted furniture need not be only about portraits, figures and bright colours, but these can also have a monochrome palette, use abstract motifs and be minimal, depending on your choice.

This article was published in The Times of India-The Address recently. 
Images courtesy artists Mahirwan Mamtani and Yusuf Arakkal.

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10 Jul 2014

Artist Profile: Anil Kumar Simhadri

This week we profile Anil Kumar Simhadri, an artist based in Vadodara. Anil studied Printmaking (MFA) in 2011 from Khairagarh and BFA in 2009 from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. He is a recipient of HRD national scholarship for young artists, New Delhi and Arnawaz Vasudev scholarship, Bangalore.
Anil Kumar Simhadri on Art Scene India
Anil explains, "The lingering thought of not having freedom to choose what I want and what I do not want seems to be haunting me. In fact this is what makes me create images, live and move on. I am trying to depict life’s conflicts and struggles on people’s faces. Perhaps it is the lack of freedom or not having enough courage to face the reality around me that becomes a source and force to construct my images."
You can view more of his works here
Art Scene India now features artists on a regular basis. If you wish to be profiled on artsceneindia.com, please send in your submissions according to the UPDATED guidelines listed under Submit.

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4 Jul 2014

Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists on July 6, 2014

Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists on July 6, 2014/11 am to 5 pm/ Ravindra Kalakshetra

Art Park is an 'initiative by contemporary Bengaluru artists that takes place in the Sculpture Park (between Town Hall & Ravindra Kalakshetra) on the first Sunday of every month - to bring art closer to the Bengaluru public & take it out of the confines of the gallery'.
Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists, Art Scene India, Image courtesy Ravi Cavale 
"The day-long event enables artists and the public to engage in critical conversations that can help lay people to develop a deeper understanding of art and artists across time, location and culture. In the process members of the public will be able to develop an awareness and appreciation of visual art, which can lead to recognition of the power of creativity in constructing, defining and shaping knowledge. An important purpose of the Art Park Bengaluru initiative is to bridge the gap between visual art and the general public by providing a stimulating environment that provides the necessary exposure to contemporary visual art, fosters the creative spirit that exists in every individual, and challenges people to question themselves and find answers for themselves in contemporary art."
Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists, Art Scene India, Image courtesy Ravi Cavale
Artist SG Vasudev at Art Park, Bangalore
Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists, Art Scene India, Image courtesy Ravi Cavale
Artist Jasu Rawal at Art Park, Bangalore

I feel it's a wonderful initiative and a fabulous opportunity to meet artists in an informal setting, outside their studio space. You can watch them work and interact with them. You could even buy sketches and paintings at unbelievable prices! In fact, the artists will price their first five drawings (drawn on acid free paper and with the ArtPark Bengaluru seal behind it) at Rs 500/=(Rupees five hundred only) for each drawing, while the prices of paintings will vary.

Let me know if you visit ArtPark this Sunday  (July 6, 2014) and if you would like to write a note (approx 250 words) on your experience, go ahead and send it to me {nalini(dot)indianart@gmail(dot)com}. If it reads well I will publish it on my blog (don't forget to send 2-3 images as well)!
Art Park Bengaluru: Meet the Artists, Art Scene India, Image courtesy Ravi Cavale
 All photographs of the Art Park courtesy Ravi Cavale

1 Jul 2014

Review: Sleeping through the Museum by Waswo X. Waswo

A Thing is a Thing is a Thing

Yasra Daud Khoker views Waswo X. Waswo’s exhibition ‘Sleeping through the Museum’ at Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai and is reminded of Astrid Lindgren’s popular character Pippi Longstocking, the thing-finder. Read on to see the interesting parallels she draws between the work of fiction and the exhibits.

"What did you say you are?” asked Annika.
“What’s that?” asked Tommy.
“Somebody who hunts for things, naturally. What else could it be?” said Pippi as she
swept all the flour left on the floor into a little pile.
“The whole world is full of things, and somebody has to look for them. And that’s just that a Thing-Finder does,” she finished.
“What kind of things?” asked Annika.
“Oh, all kinds,” said Pippi. “Lumps of gold, ostrich feathers, dead rats, candy
snapcrackers, little tiny screws, and things like that."
Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene India
Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene IndiaFrom humanity’s first and most successful adaptation - hunting and gathering, to its most popular adaptation- thing collecting, we have come a long way. As a mode of subsistence, just as our ancestors foraged for things to eat, scouring anything edible, we rake our fingers through vapors of postmodern life and a variety of things materialize like fungal growth in a forgotten jar of pickle. We feed on these by-products and remnants of memory. These things keep us going.

Thing. Things. A whole lot of things. Not just things, but things. That is what we are surrounded by. As I look around, I see a variety of things collected by me- some impulsively, some after much planning and some gifted by family and friends. Each of these things is unique and has a story that reminds me of the person I used to be and the one I am today.

Things are mute signifiers of our lives and existence, speaking much through their surface, sometimes worn-out, at other times well-kept. People generally scan items ejected from a Packers and Movers truck, attempting to paint a picture of the new neighbors. Their financial stability, family planning, pets and the dominant person in their marriage- everything about them is discussed roughly based on the things unloaded from the truck, over a routine gathering at the vegetable cart.
Requiem for an Other - The Central Vintrine from Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene India
I am reminded of these as I flip through a booklet titled ‘Your Handy Museum Guide Book’ which accompanies Waswo X. Waswo’s exhibition ‘Sleeping through the Museum’ at Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai. Modeled after the generic spatial and visual configurations of museums with their rectilinear circulation paths, controlled movement and informatory notices, the space becomes an intended thing-asylum displaying painted photographs, labeled diagrams, terracotta artifacts and specimens in jars. Thirty glass jars arranged in a grid sit atop a surface, containing various things in paraffin and beeswax that replay memories. Remnants of a meal, a burned hat, a sliced book, crumpled piece of art etc bring Astrid Lindgren’s character Pippi Longstocking, the thing-collector to mind.

Preservation stuns time, extending the present. Nature never intended for anything to remain pristine, untouched by time -including our memory. That perhaps, is why we forget. The glass jars have imprisoned memories of things that the museum forces us to remember. One thinks a number of thoughts reading the often unnecessary, hence museum-like labels on the jars - why have these particular things been chosen for display and not others? Why do/should they form a part of history? What scattered history are these things alluding? More importantly, why is this piece of history relevant today?
Glass Vial, Requiem for an Other - The Central Vintrine from Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene IndiaRequiem for an Other - The Central Vintrine from Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene India
The objects in the jars play on individual imagination as one is sure to find something in his/her clutter of memories that resonates with the visual language of the exhibit (Requiem for an Other). We look at museums as preservers of history and never once question anything on display- the veracity of its claims or the authenticity of the objects. History taught at schools in different parts of the world varies. The British exploited, plundered and looted India according to Indian history but British history speaks of the ‘white man’s burden’ of civilizing the rest of the world. History is ‘his story’, a one-person perspective of events, in some cases propaganda. Museums are a part of it. In placing rather mundane objects in sparkling jars on pedestals, Waswo questions the relevance and authenticity of what we understand as history. Does our past limit itself to rugs once used by royalty and nail-clippers or clothes used by someone well-known? How about those who were always present in the faded backgrounds and sidelined in history?
The Eternal Dance of Tribal Drama - Gauri Dancers and Masks from Sleeping through the Museum at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo, Art Scene India
The ‘Evil Orientalist’ peeks from beneath terracotta masks crafted by village potter Shyam Lal Kumhar in such labeling as ‘a mask for our people not yours’, ‘a mask of open-mindedness’, ‘a mask demanded to be worn’ etc. The fixed, startled expressions of the masks along with hand-colored photographs from the Gauri Dancers series bring attention to the blurry lines between reality and folklore. Quite like the dancers in their heavily made-up and elaborately costumed avatar, people play a variety of characters daily. We seek to fabricate a version of the self that mimics the exaggerations of a stage play. The real and the unreal are all the same. Happiness, anger, open-mindedness, fear, ownership, authority etc are all reduced to a mask, a thing. Each of us carries many such masks everyday along with invisible jars of old sights, smells and words, clinking, making much noise. We are museums in ourselves, our faces bearing old scars and the etchings of harsh times.

Masks are societal expectations and most other such manufactured rules of social conduct that we live by, are as necessary and functional as curios and baubles. In ‘Exhibit One: Migration of Desire’, a set of ten identical walking canes rest before us. Without glancing at the labels, as a creature of habit, one thinks a cane is a cane is a cane. Apparently not. Each of the ten canes has a label informing us of its utility and character. From beating a snake to beating a dog to beating a wife. From instructing a child to walking upright to shifting homes. In the end, just a physical sign of someone’s existence. A mark that he, too, was once there. In his absence, his things speak for him, revealing much, allowing us a peek in to what he did, what he did not and hence, who he really was. How then, dear reader, is a thing, just a thing?

['Sleeping Through the Museum' at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai by Waswo X. Waswo with Rajesh Soni, Subrat Behera and Shyam Lal Kumhar]

About the Writer: Yasra Daud Khoker is a writer of Art & Architecture, currently writing for Art & Deal and Architect Weekly. A graduate from the College of Architecture and Design of the American University of Sharjah, she writes with a special interest in Art & Architecture Theory, History and Criticism. She can be reached at yasrakhoker@yahoo.com

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