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A fine blend

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI
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ART A show emerges from a dialogue between Indian and Bangladeshi artists in an art residency. SHAILAJA TRIPATHI

Works by Mukesh Sharma and Wahiduzzaman.
Works by Mukesh Sharma and Wahiduzzaman.

It's strange with art residencies. However controlled they might be, it doesn't block the flow of energy there. CrossOver, an ongoing art exhibition in the city hasresulted from an Indian-Bangladeshi artists' residency, which was held in two parts in Dhaka and Delhi. Featuring around 50 works in different media executed by 20 Indian and Bangladeshi artists, the exhibition is largely made up of artists who are in their middle of their careers — the master Shahabuddin being the only exception — who have shown internationally and is jointly curated by Dhaka-based artist and writer Mustafa Zaman and Delhi-based arts consultants and writer Sushma K.Bahl and Archana B.Sapra.

The collection forms an eclectic mix including different media and art practices in the package. While some like Abdus Saleem, Abdul Halim Chanchal, Wahiduzzaman, Dileep Sharma are engaged with popular culture — film posters, faces of actors and other well-known personalities, a few like Mukesh Sharma, Swarnily Mitra Rini and Puja Bahri are reacting to the society in transformation where the new and the old co-exist. Sensitive, satirical, blunt, the works on display connect with the viewers through myriad emotions.

Bahl says Jagadish Chinthala's work is as delightful to see as it is to see the artist in process. He takes from the age-old technique of sanjhi and transforms it into a highly aesthetic contemporary piece, taking the viewer back to his/her nursery days. Bahl says that limitations and deadlines in a residency sometimes do impact the artist's approach. Some come with preconceived notions and some experience limitations in terms of material available like in the case of Abdus Salam, who usually works with film posters but here he painted directly on to the canvas as the posters of his choice weren't available to him. “But Jagadish Chinthala brought his entire studio. He asked for a huge table on which he had kept dozens of punching machines. He first painted the paper and then punched each one of them painstakingly. It was an experience watching him.”

Rafiqul Islam Shuvobelongs to the new wave of contemporary artists in Bangladesh producing experimental works. Rendered in white, the child-like figures are accompanied by text, placed in what looks like a topographical map of somewhere. Two canvases curiously lie on the floor. Bhagat Singh's art practice merges landscape with elements of tantricism.

(The exhibition is on at the recently opened art gallery in the India International Centre, till January 28{+t}{+h}after which it will shift to Art Mall, the gallery which funded the residency.)


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