Three’s company

A statement One of Alok Bal’s works.

A statement One of Alok Bal’s works.  

Three artists and the canvas of their thoughts.

Violence takes an existential turn for best friends and artists, Chirag Patel, Alok Bal and Chinnan Vinod in their latest exhibition at New Delhi’s Art Konsult gallery. ‘Chirag, Alok and Chinnan’ merges the electric visions and arts of the trio from M.S. University, Baroda. They reveal a bit of themselves through their introspection and critique of contemporary society.

Orissa-born Alok’s parody on urbanisation is achieved through a series of works, “Missing Soil”. The urban landscape is a stifling milieu, with concrete walls and an asphyxiating grey sky. He references popular video games for an empty and sombre setting. A partially hidden military figure marks the only human presence in the remnants of deforestation. In a striking work, he sets fire to the traditional cotton-making instrument, depicting how modernisation is rendering everything else outdated.

Red soil

Alok says, “The concrete walls are a metaphor for the highly insecure and egoistic urban mentality. Today, computers have become the playgrounds of children. They don’t touch or smell the real soil, and it saddens a football enthusiast like me. Urbanisation has had such adverse effects on all living species.” The red soil he has painted “symbolises the massacre of our environment.”

Son of well-known sculptor Nagji Patel, Chirag says, “Everyone expected me to become a sculptor but I loved the feel of ink, acrylics and soft pastels. And my love for nature could be best portrayed on canvas alone.” His central theme for the exhibition is the Gir lion which he considers “the pride of Gujarat.”

He makes a tongue-in-cheek connection between the highly colourful local vehicle called ‘Chakkada’ and the extinction of the Gir lion, forcing viewers to take notice of its dwindling population. He says, “The Chakkada and the lion form the source of income as they attract tourists from all over. Even the royalty shown in my canvas looks pleased with the hunting they’ve done. In my view they are dim-witted.”

Kerala-born Chinnan’s fragmented narratives compel the viewers to probe deeper into the human psyche, its rationality and its fears. Like in “Mapping Insomnia”, where a disturbing and equally disturbed moth defines a habit. Insomnia could be widespread in a violent society or could be the nonsensical vice of an individual, but he leaves the viewers to find their answers. He insists, “My paintings don’t have a story. They are more interpretative than narrative.” Vinod uses a complex and meticulous process of ‘figuration’ derived from a plethora of images, literature and drawings. A self-confessed colourist, he often paints using spoons, hands, etc.

The artists are united in their opinion that viewers should look beyond urban art that apes the West. The exhibition is on till May 15.


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