Devdatta Padekar’s 'Through the Looking Glass' shows the deep connection between children and nature

Flowers, fish, birds, deer, butterflies and children. Though there doesn’t seem to be an obvious connect here, there is an underlying link between their inherent sensitivity and vulnerability.

But the more obvious bond is the one that Devdatta Padekar draws in his latest series of paintings, “Through the Looking Glass”, on view at Kynkyny, showing children as representatives of human life connecting with natural life.

“Living in cities one can see how our association with nature is deteriorating, our interaction with nature is being minimalised and at the same time, nature itself is being destroyed at a rapid pace. Children bond with different forms of nature at an emotional level and their bond is strong and deeply rooted. As we grow up our bond with nature becomes weaker. We don’t seem to notice its presence so much,” says Devdatta.

A fragile bond

The Mumbai-based artist paints children in their pre-teens, in their moments of contact with fragile forms of nature— fawns, butterflies, birds, gulmohars, cherry blossoms or goldfish.

His paintings are suffused with colour, bright yellow, cherry red, sky blue or billowing white. He captures a magical realism, a moment in time between fantasy and reality and, he says, he captures movement. “In every form in nature, there is movement, in the flutter of the butterfly’s wings, raindrops in shimmering puddles or the slowly changing seasons.

“This was challenging to depict because it was not a documentation of the movements, it was my vision of the movement. I have tried to capture the essence. My primary focus is to show the figure through bodily gestures.”

Devdatta describes his paintings, done largely in oils or in pastels, as party impressionistic and partly realistic. His choice of mediums is due to their inherent vibrancy and shimmering quality.

“I found it suitable for my discipline, which is based on spontaneity. That is what I strive for when I deal with movement.”

“Through the looking glass” will be on view until February 8 at Kynkyny, 104 Embassy Square, 148 Infantry Road. For details, contact 40926202.