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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2003

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Vibrant hues

`Roots En Route' is a travelling exhibition of contemporary Indian art. The works of eight artists are on display till April 19 at the Forum Art Gallery.

`ROOTS EN Route' is an exhibition of works by eight select Indian artists, who have had professional training or attended residencies in the United Kingdom. Looking at a wide range of art from video installations to sculpture and lit paintings, to print and paper masks, the exhibition showcases the works of both well-established and younger artists from across the country. The show verbalises the cross-cultural inspirations and influences that have allowed these artists to engage in an individual visual jargon providing a confidence to experiment with disparate materials and techniques, both indigenous and universal.

Bose Krishnamachari, Eleena Banik, Pampa Panwar, Rajnish Kaur, Ranbir Kaleka, Ravikumar Kashi, Ravinder Reddy and Sonia Khurana share the common bond of being Indian, but being `Indian' is in itself an extremely large and loose link, given the diversity of the local cultures they emerge from. Bose Krishnamachari's `Tilted' is a realistic rendering in sepia tints that focuses on a little boy happily filming `reality' with the world appearing tilted through the lens. `Mind the Gap' the ever-familiar utterance in the underground's tube stations of London expresses a newer meaning when sandwiched between two portrait heads of Francis Bacon separated only in the years revealed by the lines on the face.

`The Dreamland After the Milky Way' is a video installation with mixed media by Eleena Banik whose feminist leanings steer her towards comparing surges of creativity with the biological cycles of womanhood. Conversely, the very notion of femininity is challenged in Ravinder Reddy's large fibreglass portraits of women, where an element of masculinity creeps in with the audaciously strong form and brazen frontality.

Ravikumar's works with handmade paper pulp casts and mixed media document the transient elements of daily life around him and yet they are warped in time by the static nature of the very medium they are born of. Infused with a painterly aspect, the video installation `Through the Window' by Ranbir Kaleka, by the sound of the constant opening and shutting of windows awakens one to the soulful dreams of everyday existence, life and reality. Similarly, the moving picture emphasizes Sonia Khurana's experimentations with the bold use of her own person in strongly spirited imagery.

Brilliantly coloured acrylics and oils applied in frenzied spurts mushroom on the canvases by Rajnish Kaur revelling in the play of electric colours with intense light. Pampa Panwar's canvases on the other hand are poetically construed landscapes fashioned by the colours of the seasons they embody. The lyricism is further accentuated by the accompanying verses.

Certainly a visual indulgence in terms of contemporary Indian art on show in Chennai, this travelling exhibition is on view at the Forum Art Gallery, 57, Padmanabha Nagar, Fifth Street, Adyar, until April 19.


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