Ritu Gupta's paintings capture the elephant God in myriad moods and colours

Ritu Gupta's series of paintings on Lord Ganesha marks the re-opening of Vinnyasa Premier Art Gallery. It also marks the first showing by the Kanpur-based artist in the city, which makes her pretty happy.

“I'm glad my exhibitions in Chennai have begun with Lord Ganesha,” says the artist, who will be exhibiting another series of works at Prakrit Art Gallery next month.

The favourite God

This isn't the first time she's done a series on Ganesha, whom she calls her “favourite God”, and she couldn't pass up the chance to pay homage to him once again. “When I was approached by Vinnyasa to do this exhibition, I just couldn't say no, even though I had just a month to do the entire collection,” she says, speaking in Hindi.

The result is 21 vivid images of Ganesha in bright colours — yellow, blue, purple, green, pink and orange, and in a variety of moods and styles. You see him dancing or playing musical instruments, childlike and playful or with suitable gravitas, clad in ornate dhotis and jewellery. Most of the depictions are traditional and figurative, with just a couple of the sort of stylised, abstract renderings that have become so popular of late.

“I tend to like detailing and fine work — I don't care too much for the abstract,” she says. “But, I did a few to add to the variety in the exhibition.”

Not surprisingly, her favourite piece is one of Ganesha in a jewel-like shade of deep blue, with intricate detailing on his trunk, on his dhoti and on the jewellery he wears.

For other pieces, she draws inspiration from various sources, such as mythology — her rendering of Bal Ganesh, for instance, is drawn from depictions of Bal Gopal — or simply events around her, such as one of dancing Ganesha in riotous shades of pink, inspired by Holi.

“Lord Ganesha's form lends itself so beautifully to experimentation — both in colour and style,” says the artist who was part of the India Art Summit this year.

“I don't have to struggle to come up with ideas as with other paintings — it just happens,” she says.

Rural flavour

The series is part of Ritu's ‘Shades of India' initiative, but marks a slight departure from its typical theme — capturing what she believes is the ‘real India' residing in its villages.

“I've travelled extensively in rural India since childhood, and have always been drawn to the heritage of those locations,” she says.

Her exhibition at Prakrit returns to this rural theme, but for now, she's happy to be reunited with Lord Ganesha once again.

The exhibition is on until April 10.