As many as 20 artists and designers get out of their comfort zones to prove that art is but a flowing stream

In a novel collaboration, leading artists and designers from across India coming together for an exhibition called “Convergence: Art & Fashion” in New Delhi. The exhibition, first put up at India Habitat Centre and now at Art Positive gallery, showcases the cross-fertilisation between the two diverse worlds of art and fashion, resulting in 20 artists and designers presenting two works each, one that represents his/her known oeuvre and one in the other sphere.

Elaborating, curator Sushma Bahl says, “Today, a contrast of sorts is reflected in those working in design and fashion domains, where functionality and market are the prime driving forces. What space or scope does their practice allow for unrestrained creativity that is encouraged at the initial learning and training stages? The symbiotic relationship between art and fashion, with cross-boundary assimilation and collaboration being the norm rather than an exception, today seems to have come full circle. As in the pop art and op art movements of the 1960s in the West, Indian art too is increasingly seen to embody design and fashion within its folds, while fashion designers and their creations are finding pride of place in museums and art exhibitions. This crossover between artistic genres, especially since the 1990s, has led to free exchange of creative energies and opened up people's perceptions of what art stands for.”

Indeed, it is an amalgamation of varied and diverse ideas, as artists and designers straddle genres to create paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations and craft fashion designs and basically functional objects in any medium or size of their choice. Some of the artists who are a part of this alliance are Seema Kohli, Ravi Kumar Kashi, Viveek Sharma and Baba Anand.

Kohli along with her paintings makes a “complete fashion attire”, including an embroidered jacket and a digitally printed silk lycra bodysuit to wear under it, along with a suede embroidered clutch bag to complete the look. About the predominant use of gold in her paintings, she says, “Gold symbolises purity and truth. The paintings symbolise the rising of kundalini, a culmination of yin and yang.”

Prominent designers whose works are also showcased include the likes of Ritu Kumar, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Malini Ramani, Manish Malhotra and Manish Arora. “Shikawati”, Ritu Kumar's mixed media painting, she says, is her own portrayal of the Mundhawa region where the designer has spent considerable time. Another interesting piece is Rajesh Pratap Singh's installation made of welded iron scissors, “Meditating Man'. He says, “Scissors are a tool of my trade and I feel comfortable working with metal. Also, it is recycled since these are used scissors. So they have some story and life before they came together on this piece. Also, the person in question being stabbed or injured by the tools of his trade. It's just a metaphoric connotation.”

Among the few unusual creations, like Shilpa Chavan's installation, created by using materials from a local street market, turns out to be a spectacular piece depicts various facets of a woman. Artist Ravi Kumar Kashi presents his fashion work, a set of six T-shirts with the insides of a human body hand-painted with waterproof ink.

The exhibition is currently on at starts on the 24th November 2010 and will be on till 30th November at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre. The exhibition will then move to Art Positive, F-213/B, Old MB Road, Lado Sarai, New Delhi-30, where it will be on from 3rd December till 30th December 30.

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