Mahinth Gokul's second solo exhibition of paintings highlights the need for conservation of the environment

The first picture to greet you as you enter an exhibition of paintings at Shangri-lla Art Gallery is that of smoke coming out from the chimney of an industrial factory darkening the skies.

The next picture has smoke, again from a chimney set against a crystal blue sky with a river flowing by serenely, separating an industrial area and a residential area. And the following series of pictures have smoke in different brush strokes billowing out of smoke-spitting pipes.

Monotonous? Yes, but then when you take a closer look, you see the artist, Mahinth Gokul's fear and angst coming through the paintings. The artist fears the challenges the environment faces as a result of industrial revolution. And that is why the exhibition has been aptly titled ‘Smoke Signals.'

Fleeing the pollution

Take his picture of birds flying away from the smoke that comes out of a chimney. Is the artiste wishing he too could be free from the smoke? And what about the painting where there is a concrete city with no signs of green, just people going about their daily lives and an industrial plant at a distance? Is that what the artist fears the world is headed for?

But without industry, nations cannot progress and so the artiste has industrial plants set amidst lush fields and flowing rivers; a sign that everyone should work together to make the earth a safe place to live in.

Mahinth, an environment health and safety consultant for the chemical and oil and gas industry in the United States (U.S.), has seen the smoke that emits from such plants.

“Global warming is real and if we do not do something about it, we are the losers. That is why it is important that development and the preservation of nature go hand in hand,” says Gokul, just like the picture in which a factory plays peek-a-boo in the midst of nature.

For his collection of paintings, Mahinth has used mostly water colours and oil. Two of his oil paintings are done on plastic instead of the regular canvas.

“I wanted to experiment. Most artistes I have met say paintings on plastic will not last as you can scrape it off. I have come up with a technique that has the painting sticking on to the plastic like glue,” says Mahinth who is studying art at Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art and Fleischer Art Memorial, Philadelphia in the U.S.

This is Mahinth's second exhibition in the city. His first exhibition titled ‘Organic dynamism of the curvi-linear form' was held in the city in 2008. “I hope to take ‘Smoke Signals' to other cities too. The message of conserving nature needs to go around.” ‘Smoke signals' is on at the Shangri-lla Art Gallery till July 10.

Keywords: Mahinth Gokul