ART Aloke Lal's paintings bring back the message of Mahatma Gandhi. UPAMA SINHA

S enior IPS officer Aloke Lal's exhibition of his recent paintings titled “Gandhi and his Global Concerns” was an endeavour to awaken people from their slumber and reiterate the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. The paintings exhibited at Nre Delhi's Azad Bhavan Art Gallery till this past week, engaged with bright shades which gave them the semblance of a flame and provoked one to dwell on them and contemplate the dire consequence of reckless human actions.

The titles of the paintings, which ranged from the tsunami to global warming and to communalism, were self explanatory, and the message loud and clear.

“Gandhiji told us to go for small scale industries but instead we opted for large scale industries. In the process, we destroyed villages, exploited natural resources and have ended with a future which looks bleak. The desire to grow has inadvertently led to environmental degradation,”said the artist. Re-asserting the philosophy of the Father of Nation, he added, “There's enough for our needs but not for our greed. These paintings depict Gandhiji and his ideals.”

The fact that a single picture could speak a thousand words was conspicuous in all the paintings .

Without any formal training in painting, he could make his canvases rich in colour and fresh in approach. The canvas, he said has been his medium through which he would give vent to his feelings and show reverence to Bapu. His paintings were mostly abstract. The one titled “Doomsday” was a blend of dark colours which were intricately done and looked like a juxtapose puzzle enticing you to solve it. “You don't know what the doomsday will bring, so you can perceive innumerable meanings from the painting.”

Another painting titled “January 30” was a blend of national flag colours — saffron, white and green and the image of a corpse drawn right in between made it intriguing. Explaining the picture, the artist said, “Everyday we are indulge in violence. Everyone claims that their God is great and in the name of God we kill his most important creation, the human being. I believe the death of every single person in violence symbolises the death of Gandhiji. He is dying everyday.”

He even gave a new look to the “Three monkeys” of Gandhiji.. Painted in shades of brown with a vivid outline, he portrayed them doing the three things — seeing , speaking and hearing — which Gandhiji had restricted. “The society has forced us to confiscate our innocence and adopt the bad habits which dominate contemporary time.”

Environmental issues

Lal's paintbrush dabbled with subjects pertaining to environmental issues too. Bright shades of yellow, orange and blacks were overpowering. Burnt jungles taking the hues of saffron, all painted in stark bold lines told their own tale.

His pictures also expressed hope, though gloom in the shape of dark evil riding on wolves predominated. But if you ponder deeper you could see the presence of Christ , Shiv linga and even human foetus in some of them.

“The best way is to resort back to the ideals of Gandhiji,” he said.