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Updated: February 25, 2010 17:37 IST

Colours of India

M. S. Sridhar
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A sculpture by Ebenezer Sunder Singh.
A sculpture by Ebenezer Sunder Singh.

Works by 23 contemporary artists in New Delhi reflect the vibrant imagination of the new generation.

Leonardo da Vinci hailed the infinite scope of art with these words: “If a painter wishes to see beauty that enraptures him, he has the power to create it….whatever lies in the universe — in essence or imagination — he has first in his mind and then in his hand.” His views hold true even after 400 years.

The creations of artists are various and fiercely individual yet bound together in the tradition of art. They are taught by those who came before them and continue to influence the generations to follow. In keeping with this tradition, “India Rising” showcases the works of 23 young and contemporary Indian artists. The exhibition is a fusion of modernity and tradition using innovative techniques revealed in contemporary art. It is a gargantuan effort of Ati art gallery, co-hosted by the Varya.

The life-size bronze sculpture of Gagan Viz at the entrance, “And again Spring knocks”, arrests connoisseurs. The sculpture portrays a human figure in conversation with damsels perching on his hand and forces one to appreciate the beauty of the human body, reminding one of the stone sculptures of Orissa and Belur, where madanikas areshowninconversation with parrots perched on the arm. His other sculpture depicts the quick succession of graceful acrobatic movements of the human body.

Ethereal beauty

The painting “Madonna & the Child” of Dileep Sharma in bright green has an image of Vanara as depicted in the Ramken dance drama of Indonesia. The wonderstruck figure in the painting watches the ethereal beauty of the Madonna while recognising the Vanara at the most inappropriate spot.Every painting suitably hung in the Varya studio complements the art objects, installations books, furniture. A lot of planning and care have gone into showcasing the paintings and highlighting their beauty. It is an ethereal experience moving around the studio to enjoy the paintings which have been culled from numerous entries.

The sculpture of Ebenezer Sunder Singh, “With love to Kafka”, brings in the masks used for Chhau and embellishments of Therukoothu folk dances. This is one of the arresting pieces, an ode to Kafka, who won admiration for his work only after his death.

Binoy Verghese captures the joyousness of the child amongst flowers in his picture-perfect painting, reflecting his acute perception of the environment and vivid use of colours.

Titled “Colours”, the painting by Kota Neelima stands out for its monochrome use of colours, layers and strokes of subtle shades. G.R. Iranna's installation, “I lost the taste of God” is a reminder of his earlier training at a gurukul.

Manil Gupta's painting titled “Mutations-Combinations” is reminiscent of the Gond region, with its tree design in bold black and white stripes recalling tribal art.

Aarti Sarin Jain, Commercial Director, Ati Art Gallery, notes, “Our gallery reviewed the work of a far larger sample of artists, all of whom deserved to be exhibited in the ‘India Rising' exhibition; we chose the exhibiting artists as their work best conveyed an irreverent energy and potential in accordance with the title of the show.”

The Director of Varya Design adds, “We are witnessing history in the making. This is a new decade and filled with endless opportunities. We must celebrate India and harbour the talents that emerge from this melting pot. ‘India Rising' is a fantastic platform for Varya, since we do take a lot of pride in our Indian artisans and merchants.”

The featured artists include Alok Bal, Anoop Kamath, Binoy Verghese, Dileep Sharma, Ebenezer Sunder Singh, G.R. Iranna, Gagan Vij, George Martin P.J, Kamar Alam, Kota Neelima, Manil Gupta, Manish Pushkale, Mrinmoy Barua, Partha Shaw, Pooja Iranna, Pratul Dash, Rajesh Ram, Sandip Daptari, Sanjeev Sonpimpare, Shabnam Shah, Shhiv Singh, Shubhra Das and Viveek Sharma.

(The show is on at Varya, 21-A Janpath, till February 26)

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