Artist Vijay Gille recreates a slice of everyday life through the ‘chai wallah’

Ketli, gilass, chulha, gamcha, topi, bench and pagdi all create many canvases that explains ‘chai wallah and other stories’ by Vijay Gille at Icon Art Gallery. The canvases on display portray Vijay’s close observation of chai dukaans in remote villages. One can call it a dehaati depiction. This rustic feel is apparent from the light source — a kerosene hand lantern hanging from the shop and dhoti clad men. Or could this be Vijay’s depiction of a railway station chai stall? The occasional presence of customers in red shirts (railway porters?) suggests so. Also artists seems particularly inspired by a stall named ‘Guru Murthy Tea Stall.’

The canvases on display depict the moods of the customers, the owner and the conversations which takes place at a tea stall. Almost all his canvases show that customers belong to a way of life where the men irrespective of their age carry lathis. Or are they lathaits? Also most of the men are depicted wearing Gandhi caps, a practice common amongst Marathi manush and UP bhaiyyajis.

These works of art seem to recreate a world that is fast disappearing, except in the hinterlands... perhaps that’s why the chai wallah’s stall has a poster of the iconic film Mother India.

For the other stories, Vijay’s depiction of random life is very pleasant. The colours he uses are in contrast to the shades he used for the chai wallah. Mostly in fresh hues of blues, greens and pastel the ‘other stories’ lend themselves to myriad interpretations.

This is definitely a show to ponder over cups of chai. The chai wallah leaves Icon Art gallery on January 12.

What: Chai Wallah and other stories, an exhibition of paintings

Where:Iconart Gallery, Rd. No. 12, Banjara Hills

When: Till January 12, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.