Creativity knew no bounds at the just concluded United Art Fair, from where we selected a few that attracted attention

Basist Kumar

Works at UAF: Five canvases

Price: Rs.2,50,000 to Rs. 4,50,000

A young gun showing much promise from the lot of contemporary artists is this Kurukshetra-based painter. He has studied painting at Delhi College of Art and Visva-Bharati and is currently in China to further study new media art at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. Isolated life-size figures against a vast landscape create a sense of surrealism in his canvases. This is how Basist explains his approach: “I am interested in creating images which can provide a state of ongoing discovery of ‘self and the other’ while confronting my works. These works have an iconic feel to them holding different dimensions of life together. In most of my works there is a sense of dualism, physical and ethereal. That’s within me and I firmly believe that this tension always exists which pushes matters and meanings together to fuse on the same surface. Creating a metaphysical atmosphere by juxtaposition of objects in a certain order leads the viewer to find an abstract meaning where he sees it in an unusual dimension. I try to bring these dimensions into contextual issues of our lives, personal and universal, together.”

Remant Kumar Mishra

Works at UAF: Two mannequins and a stone bearing Madhubani

Price: Rs.25,000 and above

Amongst all the unconventional surfaces Madhubani has found to date, this has to be the quirkiest. And nobody would have thought — not even when in the drought stricken Mithila region, it made a transition from the walls to paper distributed to the women by Bhaskar Kulkarni who had been sent by the government — it would reach here.

Interventions by agencies seeking to nurture the tradition led to further innovations.

Remant’s art has benefitted from this plus the fact that the tradition runs in the family — Bhagwati Devi, a national award winner, has helped shape his language. He is encouraged by Dastkari Haat Samiti of Jaya Jaitly. Having worked on wood and textiles in the past, the Madhubani-based artist finds such surfaces challenging. New surfaces come with new narratives as well, like here Remant has drawn his content from the brutal Delhi gang-rape and Bihar politics.

Prathap Modi

Works at UAF: Three works (silk screen on metal sheet; wood carving and oil on silk screen; wood carving and oil on wood)

Price: From Rs.1,80,000 to Rs.6,50,000

A young printmaker from Baroda, Prathap engages with the idea of human desire and identity in his works. For the United Art Fair, he presented a number of inked wooden blocks, which made up a massive wall sculpture and also two silk screens on metal surfaces depicting humans and animals in perfect harmony. What’s special about Prathap is that in addition to the large woodblock prints on paper that he creates, he also finishes and displays the wooden blocks themselves.

Trained under T.Sudhakar Reddy at the Department of Printmaking, School of Fine Arts, Andhra University with post-graduate studies at the Department of Graphic Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, Prathap Modi is pushing the craft of printmaking especially woodcuts and evolving a new language.