Away from the solitude of a studio an artist camp offers varied, on-the-spot inspirations. That's what happened to Dhara Mehrotra, a Delhi based artist, one of the 12 participating in the ongoing camp, ‘Expressions 2012', at Hotel Le Meridien.
A serrated fern in the green precincts of the hotel is her subject. Besides that the “progressive, contemporary” style of architecture and decor of the hotel too is a big source of ideas. Impressed by that and in sync with the ambience she carries forward the feel of the venue on to her canvas.
She is consumed by the scenic beauty of Kerala too. “It truly is God's Own Country,” she gushes. Being part of the collaborative camp where she can exchange ideas and learn, unlearn and evolve is her reason for being a part of this.
The camp is being held under the aegis of Palette People and Hotel Le Meridien.
Falguni Bhatt from Kolkata is consumed by spaces and architecture. The heritage sites of old Cochin and the view from her hotel window at Le Meridien have inspired her to blend the two in spatial variations. Her two works, one in progress, catches beautifully her aesthetically fired mind. She uses print and paint on her canvas. The print on her kurta, her hotel chair, a Baroda palace mirror, a window, Jew Street warrens all flow beautifully in her work.
Bangalore-based Prathapan tackles the dual theme of migration and water in his work. He paints the boats called ‘parush', used by Oriya and Bengali boat people. They live and die by the boat and belong to no state. The round boats drying in the sun, against coconut trees, is an appealing geometric work in circles and lines.
Wilfred K.P. paints different scenes from nature, something that inspires continually. Bindhi Rajgopal's two works deal with rabid urbanisation that's consuming nature and hence drawing its wrath with calamities like tsunamis. Besides the 2012 apocalyptic fear rules because of this insensitive treatment towards nature.
Devadas K. A. from Ernakulam uses folk, surrealism, love, nature and divinity in his work, called ‘Living Souls'.
Tribal themes inspire K.G. Babu from Thrissur. He says that tribes live in harmony with nature. “They don't destroy anything unlike modern man who mauls nature seamlessly, even love! Bleeding papayas in a work by Anil P.G. is a strong comment on the import of fruits to the extent that one does not eat locally grown fruits. In another work titled ‘Pets' he is inspired by the beauty of a woman. Francis Xavier who worked for a month in Wayanad before coming to the camp carries the inspirations form the hilly regions. A medicinal plant “chulli” is painted in an embossed texture and in beautiful brown, tan shades. Kajal Charankatt speaks with the maturity of an artist much ahead of her young years. She draws on a piece of paper and explains the concept of earth, “samsar” or world and spirituality in three layers. Of how the lotus rises from the mud, through the waters of the world and blooms above the filth. The world is totally materialistic and the artist should rise above that she says. Her canvas is in eye-catching shades of green. “Those white flowers will bloom into lotuses,” she says about her work in progress. Kajal walks to the end of the open verandah where the camp is being held, looks far into the spaces beyond, takes in a deep breath and returns to her work. Most artists take these leisure breaks, recharge themselves with the surrounding beauty and get back to work. A first time entrant to the art world, Mahesh Arvind, revenue analyst with the hotel too is a part of this wonderful exchange. He joined in after coming trumps in a competition held by the hotel for such a selection.
Cyril P. Jacob, curator, Art Corridor, says that this joint initiative gives a big impetus to the artists. The daily progress of their works is relayed to the 300 properties of the hotel. He plans an Investor's dinner by the end of next month, where art as an investment will be the subject, he says. Cyril, who has been keenly following the course of artists, and has been a member of Lalithakala Akademi twice says that there is a need for wider support and exposure of art.
‘Expressions 2012' goes a long way towards making that effort. The camp concludes in January 14.