An exhibition where the works are connected by the thread of justice.
“Sometimes, you can't find the right words to tell people what you want to say, but you can show it to them instead, right?” says Alok Hari, co-founder of Nijh World, an Art School started for those who, academically speaking, had nothing really to do with art, but didn't want that minor characteristic to stop them from pursuing it. In this particular exhibition held by Nijh World, ‘Paint for Justice', the works, a medley of sculptures, paintings and sketches by artists from all over the country, prove their mettle.
Every corner of the gallery, set up in the basement of the academy itself, is chock-a-block full, and each painting that hangs in the room has a tale to tell. “We put together most of these works long back, but couldn't find a gallery in Delhi that would put up the exhibition,” says Hari, who has had no formal training in art, having been a science student in college. Yet, as Hari talks about each painting, elaborating on the story, the themes, the colours, you know that you are talking to an artist.
What catch the eye are the few canvases with a three dimensional quality to them, each with masks of fibre superimposed on them. One even has a bottle of alcohol glued to it. These are all done by Harinansha Bhardwaj, a student of psychology. “The masks and the use of texture and photographs in the paintings make the statement it's trying to make clearer. We didn't want the paintings we kept in the exhibition to be difficult to comprehend. We wanted the message to get across to whoever saw these paintings.” Harinansha's paintings do just that; tell their stories while still preserving a sort of elusive, arresting quality. They speak of honour killings and environmental destruction, spiritual freedom and political corruption, and they are at the same time, quite beautiful.
Works of 11 artists have been put together in the gallery, with around three to five paintings by each artist. All of them are connected by that one thread of an idea- justice. Every issue and every realm of life that touches upon that idea, finds a voice here. Ram Kishen, another co-founder of the academy even points at a painting which shows a bride, blushing under the stare of her new sister-in-laws. “It's a sort of injustice, when a completely new bride gets coerced into a style or way of living by her husband's family, isn't it?” he says. The point of each painting though, is that while they retain the motive, the conclusion is left to the viewer. One such painting is a canvas with a huge mirror in the middle of it, surrounded by paintings of fading faces. Again, the interpretations are limitless.
The last few exhibits are portraits and sketches, beautiful and life-like. Asked why these have been included in the exhibition, Hari laughs and says that these are for the non-believers. “A lot of people come and look at these abstract works and say, this is all good, but can these people actually draw? So this is a way of showing them that yes, we can do that too.”