We have all seen Zaw Win Pe's landscapes of rolling hills, calm waters, rocky terrains and hilly homes in a distant dream. They're painted in fiery Indian shades, either depicting the break of dawn or the last colours of dusk. But look a bit deeper and you'll see the tumult of emotions in each embossed stroke of the artist's brush.
‘Paradise' seems an apt name for this exhibition that introduces a contemporary artist from Myanmar. While most of Zaw Win Pe's paintings depict what seems to be a hill station, there is a different way of viewing them.
At first, I stand close to the canvasses, watching the colours paint forms before my eyes. They are in technicolour as if one is looking at the world through a red or pink glass paper. The waters are purple, the fields are red and the trees are a mix of yellow, orange and green. The mountains themselves vary in colours, facing the harsh light of the setting sun on one side while the other is dark under its own shadow.
‘Sunflower Army' erupts with the familiarity of blurred shapes, like the many colours that one sees through a kaleidoscope. Tall buildings occupy the backdrop, towering over a field of yellow and green. It is mostly dark, like a blurred photograph shot in the night.
‘Brilliance' defines literally, the crack of dawn. The clouds part and white light strikes the sky, throwing its lightening-like reflection across the waters below. There is a burst of white on the blue, surrounded by mountains.
Just as I am getting used to the various strains, I see ‘Close to heaven', where purple skies are just fading into night. The artist paints from the perspective of someone atop a tree, looking down at the town below, with its willowy trees and slanting houses that dot the slopes.
‘Pyramid Mountain' plays very cleverly with shadows and colours. A hill stands surrounded by valleys, plains and fertile lands. A harsh setting sun sets one half of it ablaze, while the other is dotted with green and black. The view, from a distance, is stunning and feels as if you're standing right next to it.
Colours outline the protruding boulders, road and tree trunks a bold red in ‘Slip Sliding Away', while ‘Just Clinging On' complements what I feel as I eventually leave the gallery. Its colours echo in my mind long after, like the Solitary Reaper's song.
‘Paradise', a part of Calcutta arts club's Travelling Art Show and Art Chennai will be on display at Vinnyasa Premier Art Gallery till March 20.