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Updated: February 28, 2014 19:36 IST

New contexts of tradition

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Normalising the gods
Normalising the gods

The exhibition 2D3D by Gallery-g at the Taj West End showcases traditional ideas in a Western aesthetic

The East and West come together, in the exhibition of “fusion art” titled “2D3D” presented by Gallery-g at the Taj West End.

The exhibition features three artists — Priti Singh, Kandi Narasimalu and Sri Lanka-based Leo Pasquale. The three artists deal with a range of subjects that span across timelines in human history, from the ancient/mythological, the old and the modern.

Priti Singh expresses her love for Indian mythology through her series of paintings depicting Indian Gods and Goddesses in a rather contemporary context. The Gods and Goddesses, in all their finery are seen performing every task, Shiva lounges on the sofa with a drink while the Devi, seated above on a carpet is adorning herself with lipstick and nail polish. In another instance, he is seen doing his tandav with an electric guitar (complete with an amplifier in the background).

Priti also depicts a divine family scene where Shiva and his consort are bathing Ganesha. Shiva pours water while the Devi scrubs him. Karthikeya meanwhile is bathing himself in a blue bathtub. “I have always been fascinated by Indian mythology because I belong to Benares and my family used to spend a lot of time visiting temples. So this always reflects in my paintings,” says Priti. “But I don’t think God only slays demons and helps us solve our problems from somewhere above. I think Gods also lead normal lives like us,” says Priti.

Priti’s Gods are painted in vivid fluorescent shades set against light backgrounds. She draws her inspiration from the walls of Ujjain, Benares and rural Rajasthan, where the figures are often painted in these shades. Priti says she also draws her imagery from the tradition of the Gonds, among whom she has spent time working.

Kandi Narasimalu meanwhile is preoccupied with the life and the people of rural Andhra. His canvases are filled with tall, strong frames of the women and men on Andhra’s heartlands. The women are dark-skinned, with lean figures and curvy bosoms. They wear shiny golden jewellery, which the artist draws attention to through his embellishments. Their attire is vibrant, contrasting with their dark skin.

The women are seen gossiping, dressing themselves in front of the mirror with a comb tucked in the folds of their saris and carrying their wares over their heads.

“In my paintings I usually depict my family and their lifestyle in the village and so my works have a distinct rural aesthetic. The traditional culture in the villages is fast disappearing; so many aspects of our heritage are disappearing. So I have tried to draw attention to some of these tangible aspects of our heritage,” says Narasimalu, whose imagery is deeply inspired by his work in the field of 2D animation, in its minimalism of line and form.

The exhibition also features works by Leo Pasquale.

“2D3D” will be on view at the Taj West End, Race Course Road, until March 3. Call 22219275.

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