‘Eclectic Hues', of 26 artists, encompasses a variety of styles

The question, ‘why art?', keeps haunting you as you go from one work to another at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery. ‘Eclectic Hues', an exhibition got up by Kalarang and Art Mantram, is on there. Twenty six artists are showing 58 works. So you have 26 styles. No, more than that as some artists, who have more than two works, have attempted different styles. For the general public, who may not be scrutinising, who does what better, it's a rich experience.

Different moods

Some plainly please you, others turn you off, a few make you think, laugh, wonder and some disturb you no end. You walk past some because they evoke no feelings whatsoever, either the message is not clear, clothed in undecipherable pictorial vocabulary or simply because they don't evoke any interest.

When viewing a work, should the artist be around to help you understand the work? What's a painting, photo or a sculpture worth, if the viewer does not understand it and the artist has to explain it to you? On the other hand if a viewer does not understand a work, is he/she unintelligent? Does snobbery exist somewhere in the scene? Something about the Emperor and his clothes or non-clothes comes to mind. All these questions or doubts have more than one answer or have no answers. (Very much like some works of art!)

For instance,V. B. Venu, who has moved away from his earlier style, has put up a few water colours, small works which express divergent views. In one, masks hung on a balloon-stand and masks flying off, and two figures, speak much. But speak what? It could be that all human beings have masks on when they meet in public, that you never know what people are deep inside them, that the world is full of people with masks or it could even have political overtones. But Venu is not at hand to explain, just as Manash Ranjan Jena's work too, which has a pretty girl, with deep set eyes and six other heads by the side, with red ribbons flying from her hair, a sword in hand and plenty of patterns adorning the body and attire. But the whole impresses.

This situation gives the viewer a certain freedom to interpret the works and revel in it? I did revel in my own interpretation, as perhaps many others did.

The abstracts give you so much scope to imagine a whole new world out there and the mysteries on the canvas prod your grey cells to conjure up heavenly landscapes or the depths of hell. Contemporary issues that cry for attention fill frames and they do stir your conscience. The rawness of JMS Mani's works stay long in the mind.

Seasoned artists

Veterans Namboodiri, S. G. Vasudev, J.M.S. Mani, C. N. Karunakaran, Yusuf Arakkal and N. K. P. Muthu Koya being among the artists, give the show a ‘must see' tag. Akkitham Vasudevan, who heads the department of painting in the Mecca of art, MS University, Baroda, has hazy, romantic deer in urban locales. Anuradha Nalapat, Radhika Varma, Vinod Banaik from Assam and Jija Madhavan Harisingh are the four who represent their gender.

Of them, Jija (she was an IPS officer) is associated with Art Mantra in Bengaluru and is doing her bit to enhance the lives of artists by getting medical insurance cover for them.

Shaji Punchathu, a Delhi-based Malayali artist, is associated with Kalarang.

His work is also here along with Delhi based artists from Kerala like Madhu V. Homegrown artists T. Kaladharan, G. Rajendran, A. S. Sajit, R. Babu, Santhosh Ashramam, Suresh Kuthuparambu, Sumesh Kamballur, Saju Thuruthil, Bahuleyan C. B. are among the 26.

The Bengaluru-based artists, Mukund Kumar and Narendra Raghunath are showing too.

Performance art

Narendra is into performance art installation and is drumming up support for his movement in relation with the visual culture. Narendra and his friend sat, wrapped up fully in white cloth, as a ‘deliberate elimination of ‘visibility' of the performer's body, at Faculty of Arts and Humanities, CEPT University, Ahmedabad.

‘Eclectic Hues' is on till January 11. Get your fill of art.

Keywords: art exhibition