The real world beckons artist Tina Chandroji in her current show ‘Reclaiming Realities’, on at Chaithanya Art Gallery

A row of fluffy white rolls has been stacked neatly on the bakery counter. The glass cabinet beneath contains cup cakes, bread, croissants and other sweetmeats. The shelves behind are full of delicious-looking pastries. Tina Chandroji’s painting of the bakery looks so real that you can almost smell the fresh aroma of baking.

Her stunningly real frames capture everyday life in all its vividness. In the series of paintings titled ‘Reclaiming Realities’, Tina explores the concept of Indianness in a rather unusual way. She paints a bakery, a flower shop, a grocery store, a vegetable stall, a carpet shop, a wine shop, all familiar sights in India, but those that proclaim India’s unique traditions and culture. Her paintings are of the ordinary, but the works celebrate beauty in everydayness.

The intricate detailing creates an impact that only realism can. The ‘Vegetable Stall’, for instance, is a pure visual treat. Multi-coloured vegetables bunched together in artistic heaps, a transistor radio placed on the counter covered in white tiles, a photograph of the owner perhaps, two hanging lamps, blue plastic bangs hung on the wall, a “tube light”, every single element in the painting resembles a real shop in photographic quality. “As an Indian, you cannot not have seen shops like these,” says Tina. “These are sights that I have grown up seeing in Mumbai, and these are present all over India. They are very Indian in character,” she says.

The Bombay-based artist is continuing the series, which has 20 paintings now. All her works are oil on canvas. “Tina literally draws you into her world…which is so ornately detailed, almost like a complex weave of a Persian carpet,” Alka Pande, art historian and curator, writes in the catalogue. Alka also explains how Tina begins a painting—by applying three layers of extremely-fine oil colours first and later executing the layout.

Every frame of Tina’s contains a picture of God. “If you observe, you will see that every shop in India has a picture of God, another tradition, which is so unique to our culture,” Tina says. “Family businesses have always been around and they still flourish in our country,” she says.

A product of the JJ School of Art, Mumbai, Tina says her current preoccupation is with oil colours. “I haven’t yet thought of diversifying into other media,” she says. She is currently gearing up for a show in the UK.

‘Reclaiming Realities’ is on at Art Space Gallery, Chaithanya Contemporary Art Connoisseur, till January 9.