Prakrit Art Gallery united artists and aficionados in an engaging discourse on art at The Park

Melange, an initiative of Prakrit Art Gallery brought together a dozen artists to experiment with both flat canvases and furniture all displayed at the valedictory ceremony held at The Park. Founder Meena Dadha is known for her philanthropic programmes and on this occasion as well, she had invited artists from various parts of India, enriching cross-platform exchange of ideas, techniques and realisation of artistic concepts.

Bandhana Kumari from Bhopal believes the world did start with Adam and Eve; she had painted them like a pair of lions, bodies patterned with natural elements. “The male is strong,” she said, “so trees with weighty branches, elephants, horses and all strong creatures make up the lion. The female is soft, so she’s made of clinging vines, gentle creatures like the deer and the hare and flickering fish.” Dadha’s aim was to extend creativity to other surfaces, to spread the awareness amongst the group that art is not just in the framework of the canvas.

The gallery gave the artists a choice of furniture to paint on to create art-objects and Thejo Menon chose a drawer console. Using acrylic on wood, her flowers festoon the surface in blues and pinks. Thejo, senior faculty at JBAS Women’s College, also produced a figurative painting of brightly coloured women carrying flowers. Bolgum Nagesh Goud from Hyderabad who works with mythological themes had painted a door with a large face of Lord Rama. Within the contours other faces as Hanuman’s and Sita’s unfold. “They are all contained in Rama,” said Bolgum. Sreekanth Kurva, retaining the natural wood of a bar cabinet painted a series of colourful animal motifs on the surfaces. “I use bulls quite often in my paintings” he said. G. Balasubramaniam from Madurai used blue monotones to transfigure a chest and a door.

Art panel

Prakrit Art Gallery invited four speakers to talk about various aspects of making, understanding and cherishing art to a packed hall of artists and art-lovers. The session started with Shri Shuva Prasanna from Kolkata who has had 55 solo exhibitions and auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. “As an artist I love interacting with people through art. We are all born to express in different ways, like sieves. An artist is not separate from society.” Prasanna encouraged the artists to find the role of art in society discovering its intrinsic play in daily activities and as a reflection of harmony in society. “What is real art?” he questioned, infusing the audience to think of living and dialoguing with art as an expression of time and culture.

Nisha Jamwal, an interior designer from Mumbai came to the podium with a savvy and upmarket approach. “I work hard and I play hard,” she said professing a deep love for art, and not just as an embellishment. Making this distinction, she elaborated to the audience about familiarising themselves with art galleries to develop taste and experience. Encouraging people to acquire art instead of automobiles, she added, “Don’t necessarily buy expensive art as you can buy a lot more of less-recognised artists for the same price!” With her accrued design experience, she advised people to go with their heart not with trends while purchasing.

Cholamandalam artist, P. Gopinath’s biography is extensive but conversationally, he is a man of few words. A soft-spoken individual, he shared his thoughts on the nature of art. “Art changes—– there is nothing not to understand. Kandinsky found a different direction concentrating on the square as the absolute truth.” Turning to the tradition of theosophy and Jiddu Krishnamurti’s constant dictum to observe, Gopinath said, “There are no readymade answers. We have to search.” The process of discovering the self is never-ending as Gopinath argued, “No artist is a complete artist, learning till death.”

Self-taught artist, mathematician and engaging raconteur, A.V Illango brought the supple thought, “For an artist, the journey does not happen outside. It happens inside.” Also alluding to Krishnamurti’s dialogues, he emphasised how the mind gets fixed in patterns and we stop seeing. “We see with preconceived notions, not anew,” said Illango. On a poetic note, he alluded, “The saint realises and renounces while the painter realises and indulges.”