Posted on

The Meaning of Life

Ranjith Raghupathy’s work reflects his fascination for the human situation and what he tries to achieve in all his works is a demystification of reality and established icons TEXT: TEAM ART SOUL LIFE

Imagine growing up with an artist mother or father. Watching them create art or making work together could spark your artistic passion. And, influenced and inspired by your parents’ creativity, there’s a good chance you grow up to become an artist. Historically, there are some famous, artistic families whose children seemed destined to become artists themselves. Even today, there are many contemporary artists whose children have decided to pursue the dream of becoming an artist as well. The Raghupathy family from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, for instance, has produced three generations of artists: Kerala-based O.V. Achari was an eminent sculptor and painter, who got the Kala Ratna award for his artistic skills from the Maharaja of Travancore in 1964. His son, V. M. Raghupathy, was also a renowned portrait artist. Now his son, Ranjith Raghupathy (b. 1974) has also found his niche in painting. Like the Rahupathys, several families make up the list. The amount of artistic talent that often spans generations has caused many researchers to wonder if there isn’t something heritable about creativity. But that’s the subject for another day. Today, we focus on Pune-based Ranjith Raghupathy.

“My passion for art began at a very young age and just after finishing my education in art, I began experimenting with diverse styles in painting…an intense search to find my flair in creating figures and blending colours. ‘Red’, my first show, was a series and experimentation with different shades of red as I was in love with the colour,” says Raghupathy, who did his Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting) from Kerala University.

“The experiment was figurative as well as abstract, using vermillion, scarlet, crimson, and maroon, which indeed I felt were very deep and vibrant to express my thoughts. The result was remarkable both from my angle and viewers’ point of view,” he adds. The appreciation he received inspired him to work on two more series, ‘Blue’ and ‘White’. “In ‘Red’, the medium was acrylic on handmade papers, while in ‘Blue’ it was oil on canvas. I was trying to blend figures with cobalt, marine, and Prussian shades to make the paintings intense and rhythmic. ‘White Series’ was entirely abstract, focusing on the transparency of white shade on the lines and other colours,” he explains. Raghupathy, whose colourful artwork has found takers all over the world, says he pursues the theme ‘life’ in general. “From history to the present day, the lives of humans have always created curiosity in me. How he survives, how he dreams, how he interacts with others…all his acts create enthusiasm in me,” he says. “I believe it is my delegation. I observe life through art.

When I look at my surroundings, I feel that they have been created for me to draw. When I interact with others, I feel that the incident has been created for me to think and find a theme for my next canvas. So I believe everything around me has been created for me to redefine.” Raghupathy says after the three solos, a drastic change appeared in his style, unknowingly. “The figures with antique characteristics appeared as if from nowhere, might be under the influence of my extensive reading and exotic travels,” says the artist, who was a regular to Kochi, a city with its share of ancient synagogues and Jewish settlements. “I started sketching them, their lifestyles, and peculiar human faces, which in turn reflected in my paintings. Soon, some queer incidents in my family forced me to migrate to another place, which influenced me to begin an ‘Untitled’ series depicting antique figures and dull earthy shades. Burnt sienna and sap green were dominating all over the canvas. Strange enough, I followed the same style for almost six years,” he informs. Raghupathy’s work reflects his fascination for the human situation, the untangling of inextricable philosophies, and the psychology of man’s existence. According to the artist what he tries to achieve in all his works is a demystification of reality and established icons, and juxtaposes it with what he considers the anthropological descent of man.

Experimenting with various media, trying to create a textural identity in his works, and adopting different techniques to transfer onto canvas the images in his mind’s eye, he displays restraint. In some works, he has taken the work out of the confines of a well-defined space by working on sheets with unfinished outlines. The effect achieved is one of irregularity, yet set into a frame, the work acquires a special look about it. Working in vibrant shades of red, blue, indigo, and crimson and moving with equal ease to the dull shades of brown and yellow, the frames are arresting. One cannot miss the predominance of red in his collection. Raghupathy explains, “Red fascinates me. My ‘Red and white series’ was in a way an exercise in purging myself of this obsessive influence of red. Even now it enters my works and the catharsis is complete only when I translate my urge onto the canvas,” he says. The human figure, in most of the paintings, has an imprint of the prehistoric and the Renaissance image, to portray the tension between illusion and reality. Despairing about the no-win situation that man finds himself in, is something that haunts him. Commenting on the frequent use of empty canvas texture in some of his works, he says the whole process of freezing on canvas a white shade lends starkness to the work. Unfettered by the baggage of a structured academic approach, the artist experiments and succeeds in creating an impact through his palette expression.

Posted on

Beyond The Beautiful

The pictorial representation of a scattered ecosystem combined with agonising accounts of people’s lives in various places at varied times are what forms the crux of Zakkir Hussain’s work

A recent group exhibition of seven contemporary artists, Measures of Lucidity, curated by artist-curator Jitha Karthikeyan at Gallerie Splash, Gurugram, left us rethinking the chaos and to seek pellucidity in our lives, lest we lose ‘what is’ amidst the cacophony of it all. The show, which was an attempt to deconstruct the complexities that plague our existence, left us truly wondering: “Are we heading towards a tangled reality? Are we forgetting the plain and the simple that make up our life?” Though the show featured works of some of the finest contemporary artists in our country – Arpita Singh, George Martin P J, K M Madhusudhanan, Muktinath Mondal, Parvathi Nayar, T V Santhosh and Zakkir Hussain, it’s the Ernakulam-based Hussain, who needs special mention here. His artwork that seems visually charged and jolly bestowed with a sense of exuberance and dynamism from a distance, at a closer look, it’s a mixture of chaos and colour, and tries to go beyond the beautiful to the horror veiled by the fascinating presence of beauty. His works travel through forgotten memories and can be read as amputations of the history of visual representations.

“The pictorial representation of a scattered ecosystem combined with agonising accounts of people’s lives in various places at varied times are what forms the crux of my works, thereby also creating a poetic space,” explains the mixed media artist. In fact, the artist’s earlier works on paper and canvas offer viewers a colourful and fantasy-like take on the bond between humans and nature through his incorporation of a variety of images and influences. The artworks explore deeper ecological and imaginary links with subdued tones, and comprise primary, dominating metamorphosis-like creations set against calmer backgrounds. However, Hussain’s more recent works are quite the opposite. Not only are they more realistic, but he has made them deliberately aggressive to evoke various personal thought processes in the viewer. These works project a mixture of chaos and colour, and seek to engage with all the senses. His universe is dense with people, discarded objects, ghettoised spaces caught in an array of circumstances. He inserts a sort of tableau vivant in his works representing the struggle between the energies and impulses of human bodies and forces of social institutions exerting control over it. The excess of visual imageries in the surface of many of his works is an outcome of the intensity and simultaneity in which his politico-linguistic strategies confront multiple notions of realities. These visions are not fantasies, but are critical concerns that the artist recognises in the interstices of language in its intervals. Many of his works can be read as amputations of the history of visual representations as he recognises that history is the temporal marker of power. He searches for what is beyond the beautiful — the horror veiled by the fascinating presence of beauty. His works are anti disciplinary agents which travel through forgotten and forbidden memories, in the process of becoming the language of the unspeakable. “The human bodies in my works are grafted together with the bodies of animals, birds, trees, electric fans, dresses and other abandoned objects. Just like how a piece of cloth is sutured onto a torn cloth to make it complete, or even a piece of discarded rubber slippers is tied onto the broken pedal of a bicycle to make it usable,” he explains. “Though, togetherness of these leaves behind a visible and permanent scar just like a healed surgical wound on a human body, which I term as patch work. It appears in my work as an uncanny representation of bodies performing on discarded objects in an abandoned space.”

Hussain says they stigmatise the marked systemic ostracism in a dystopian space. “Moreover, the objects that we think are useless are conjoined with other objects and bodies, the intrinsic nature of the former being useless disappears. Such transfigured objects open up new dimensions of a forgotten world, which we might have never encountered before in our life,” he adds. Thus, the cohesion reflects the togetherness of trauma and uncertainties inflicted on nature and human life, which embodies the silenced documents of extirpation, the plight of people from place to place, female bodies bearing the complete weight of household chores and other conflicting images. “My works speak about these and the history of the rejected lives and its sign of imaginative documents. They both act as the source of my thought process that marks demographic violence and its traumas continuously masqueraded by the dominant systems and its apparatus,” Hussain informs. Language operates in his works mostly through subtraction, by the act of deforming everything that contains an element of power – in representation and in the represented. In that sense, many of these can be read as amputations of the history of visual representations. Perhaps one of the reasons for Hussain’s attempts to amputate (visual) history is his recognition that history is the temporal marker of power! He searches for the domain ‘beyond the beautiful’ which is not simply the ugliness of everyday objects, but the constitutive background of beauty itself, the horror veiled by the fascinating presence of beauty. But one cannot say that these acts are negative operations in as much as they already engage and set in motion positive processes.

Husain’s works are the declaration against the ordering of the world. They are anti-disciplinary agents, which travel through the forgotten and forbidden memories and histories. They are the marker of genealogy of abandoned historical memories, traces of silenced voices; an anthology of the ever- expanding terrain of sufferings – they are in the process of becoming language of unspeakable. The artist, who has won multiple awards for his work, including the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society Award for drawing in 2001, and the State Award from the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi in 2000, was born in 1970, in the coastal village of Chandiroor, just outside Kochi in Kerala. In his formative years of involvement in art, the place and its theatre groups had a profound impact on his work style and his oeuvre. “The experimental theatres in my village gave me an immemorial space for creative pursuit in my life,” says Hussain, who earned a degree in painting from the College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, in 1994, and Masters in Graphics from MS University, Baroda, Gujarat, in 1997. In the late 1980s, he joined Samskara, an alternative cultural centre in Eramalloor, aimed at promoting modern literature, art and diverse thinking process in the young. The exchange of ideas in his early youth with fellow artists and political activists opened spaces to engage with the multi layers of cultural representations. The extensive involvement of making political posters with his artist friends stimulated in him the relevance of depicting social and political languages in his works.

Posted on

Unearthing The Truth

The capacity to see the narrative in the moment and to help to elevate it into meaning is what Sagar Vasant Kamble does to such perfection

One of the singular inspirations of artist Sagar Vasant Kamble’s artistic life points to art taking the personal and turning it around in such a way so that it reveals the universal. “Art to me is a depiction of my interpretation of things,” says Kamble, born in a farmer’s family at a village in district Kolhapur, Maharashtra. “My work is inspired by my background in farming and the rural community I live and work in,” says the Mumbai-based artist, who came into the national limelight when he won the Lalit Kala Akademi Award, 2020.

An alumnus of the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, the much-awarded artist lets his stories unfold in his artwork so that his lived experiences can become a tool for transformation in the lives of others. The capacity to see the narrative in the moment and to help to elevate it into meaning is what he does. In the art that thus comes from life, the hyper local and the universal entwine, so that the unfolding drama happening in a far-off corner can have resonances and reverberate across the politics of the world. “I am compelled to interpret issues like female foeticide, caste and religion, inequality, gender, poverty etc., and express them through my art,” he says. Beauty can be found even in the smallest of things in our country, he says, but social issues, problems and practices still plague us. So, you find his works exploring the culture and traditions of communities and focussing on social issues involving harassment of women, farmer suicides and Devadasis among others.

Currently, he’s exploring different mediums, including sculpture, video art, art installations along with paintings. “This I hope will help me evolve and express what I feel and expand to a bigger audience,” he says. Kamble says India is a very conscious and a sensitive country. Post-independence, the country has been rapidly adopting western theories, evolutions and innovations. But certain sectors of the country are still very much holding on to the roots and this is widely seen in the rural sectors. “These sectors are structures of culture, traditions and aesthetics. Beauty is experienced from the smallest seed. But there is equal reserve ideologies followed in these communities, like male domination, misunderstood feminism, Devdasis etc. As a rurality and a part of this community, I have an urge to interpret this social order in my visual language,” he says.

Kamble understands that his work is to try to call attention to a small moment, but perhaps the most significant thing, happening in a far-off quarter in a busy world. The thing that no-one is noticing. We cannot stop the world, so how do we draw attention to a moment of alteration, that might signify much. “Art to me is a depiction of my interpretation, therefore my paintings have notions of this community. Hence, they are more like an autobiography. Semiotics have been used to depict simple objects, which enhance and give justice to the notion. Snakes, clouds, cactus and other symbols are depicted,” he explains. Our busy, personal perspectives draw us ever onward and, enmeshed in our own lives, we can miss world changing moments that slip by out of sight. But Kamble makes his work the endeavour to pull attention towards the small, unfolding, essential drama that might be otherwise overlooked. “My paintings are close-knit between the culture and tradition of the community and social issues like mental and physical harassment of women, issues faced by farmers and unanswered questions of the Devdasis. Also, we have faced floods which have caused destruction and havoc in my village and the surrounding areas in the last couple of years. I have tried to depict in my paintings the condition of our rural life striving against such natural calamities.” he says.

This “pointing to”, is the stuff of his work, but an alertness to these moments has trained him, and so it is also, the stuff of his work life. He is in some way, always in the painting looking for the event. That is where the ritual and ceremony of making art and making meaning, becomes a useful practice. Even in our most tired, busy and distracted days, there is always the opportunity to turn towards the one small thing that matters. That is the joy of art and life, there is always meaning to be made.

Posted on

The Psyche and the Sublime

A Sridhar Murthy’s Liminal Lands evokes a feeling of exploring something in depth, as if digging into memories and through dreams of lived decades, says Saraswathy K Bhattathiri

Art educationist and Professor at the College of Fine Arts, Bengaluru, Dr A. Sridhar Murthy considers his practice as a self-exploratory journey where his mind churns between various visuals and thoughts from his life. The esteemed artist, who was born in Koppal, Karnataka in 1965, and pursued arts as he was “poor in general studies,” says his artworks evoke a feeling of exploring something in depth, as if digging into memories and through dreams of lived decades and condensing them to picture planes often focusing on concepts of sublime. His solo show ‘Liminal Lands’ held recently at the Art Houz Gallery, Bengaluru, comprising 30 watercolour works of varying sizes that have been done over a period of two years, connects to the artist’s self-introspective thoughts on a groundless life almost uprooted and disturbed floating without a destination or gravity, which veils with his self-proclaimed automatism. His works reflect on his poetic attitudes towards life and his immediate surroundings. Apart from frequent display of imaginary landscapes, few elements like stones, pillars, rocks, semi architectures and abstract particles seem to repeat in different frames. We also come across objects connected to religious customs juxtaposed with them. In spite of being objects of mass/ volume, these organic and inorganic objects float across the frame, at times seemingly coming out of the frame. The repetition of these objects/ structures doesn’t come with the attitude of symbolising them, in fact, it appears to de-contextualize from its earlier ritualised symbolisms. The objects/structures in them comes from various categories of knowledge like science, art, religion, geography etc. While the monolithic independent shafts remind of its types in history (its historical connections with demarcation and territory) they essentially call for a surreal sensation and an absence of gravity in most of them; visual, epistemological and ontological. Works like The Sound and the storm, The Pillar and the Passage aids in recalling various cinematic sequences of explosion and occasionally reminds of the big bang visualisation with its unusual landscape, sense of motion, scattered rocks and objects and the unusual shadows which denotes uncertainty of time like that of surrealism. The shift from Salagrama (earliest and pre-iconographic object) to bells and conch shells while referring to historic evolution of Hindu iconographic readings, also brings interventions of a journey from essence to symbolic object culture which in -turn reduces objects of symbolism to utilitarianism. The Golden Egg/Hiranyagarbha ensures this dialogue is rooted in certain Indian philosophical traditions addressing cosmos such as the Rigveda. “Then was not non-existence, nor existence. There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping was there then cosmic water, in the depths of the unfathomed?” – Nasadiya Sookta, Rigveda.

While there is a possibility of rightly fitting his works to this hymn, it also compels us to contemplate on how and why are occult and Vedic references, especially from modern art, is something frequently deployed to deliberately or intentionally connect to abstraction in both philosophy and art.

Being a printmaker, he tends to retain the monochromatic appeal of the works in watercolour, too, which gives an unusual visual effect. Some have control over the brush and in others letting the paint flow down to create textures and effects in the picture plane. The visual effects of all images display oscillation between a sensation of stillness and movement almost like animation. Besides the metaphysical attributes behind these works one can also connect to a fabricated id and superego on the representational plane. They also reflect on Murthy’s love for travelling (metaphysical and physical) through moving landscapes, speed, wind and void. Despite a creative visual take on metaphysics and philosophy, he maintains his modernist attitudes of refuting to articulate on his compositional or ideational prerequisites while being conveniently unreserved about spectator’s inputs. Nevertheless, Murthy’s multi-perspective, monochromatic artworks evoke a self-proclaimed automatism, which is permitted by the ascetics of modernism. He effortlessly brings in the technical effects and retains a link with each frame. These works efficiently disclose the artist’s ethnocentric psyche as well as stress on a profound sense of abstraction and cognitive ambiguity which coincides with the Vedic hymns. Liminal Lands with its surrealist attitudes and him being an art educator, takes us on a plane of discourse on art today, psychic effects and questions of articulation, ideation and vocabulary in an ever changing zeitgeist of time and space.

Murthy completed his BFA from the College of Fine Arts (CKP), Bengaluru, and MFA in printmaking from MSU Baroda, and PhD from Mysore University. He has been part of several group, solo shows and art fairs in India and abroad and also part of various national and international workshops, seminars and camps.

Posted on

Art from the Heart

More than 30 artists from all over the country join hands for the second series of the charity group art exhibition to raise funds to support those affected by Covid-19

Vibrant artworks of more than 30 artists were displayed at The Lexicon at the preview of the charity art exhibition, “Art from Heart 2.0”, held in the Capital on September 2, 2022. The artists from all over the country came for the second series organised by The Lexicon Art in association with Round Table India. The show concluded on October 7, 2022. Speaking on the occasion, Mamta Nath, Founder & Director, The Lexicon Art said, “The exhibition aims at representing the diverse and rich cultural heritage of India while raising funds to support the multiple community service activities being carried across India by Round Table India. This is the second in series, the first being held online in April 2020 to raise funds for covid victims and their families. It’s heartening to witness the art community coming together for such noble initiatives, we are looking forward to continuing with this annual event to be able to touch more lives”.

Artist Swati Pasari, known for spreading positivity and happiness through her art said, “While I love to focus on creating full of life and spiritual artworks to spread the positivity in the ambience, I feel equally elated to be part of art events that give back to the society and help the less privileged. It’s a great feeling to know that our art can touch so many hearts and fill them with happiness.” Some of the popular artists whose work was displayed were Avijit Dutta, Gurudas Shenoy, Madhuri Bhaduri, Niren Sengupta, Seema Kohli, Siddharth Shingade, Venkat Bothsa and Vinita Karim. “We are delighted to associate with The Lexicon Art once again for raising funds for our various social causes. While in 2020 funds were diverted to help Covid victims, this year, we plan to divert them to our long-term project, “Freedom through Education”. Through this project, we have educated approximately nine million underprivileged children throughout India and have built one classroom a day, every day, during the last decade”, said Manish Lakhotia, National President, Round Table India. Guests present at the preview included Actor Nasir Abdullah, art critic and poet Prayag Shukla, artists Niren Sengupta, Swati Pasari, Vinita Karim, Shovin Bhattacharjee, Kumar Vikas Saxena and others.

Posted on

A Seeker of Freedom

The art of Rodolfo Oviedo Vega can seem purely abstract, yet figuration keeps poking through in ways that give his work complexity and an enigmatic charm

A young eminent artist of El-Salvador, Paris-based Rodolfo Oviedo Vega is one of those great travellers whose tales of adventures amaze us so much as they fascinate us. Living as a practitioner of art amid the chaotic rudiments of creativity, in a city in France, he navigates his way by following the traces of his own footsteps. He marks his trails by collecting the materials like the sand beneath his feet, imbibing the textures underneath his palm, and marvelling at the knowledge of his discoveries. A persistent reader, various books like philosophy, literature, science, and myths have always been his companion in this journey. Yet, the most substantial is his encounter with the theory of spiritualism prevailing in different societies and cultures. Adventurer from Central America, from El Salvador to Chile, going through the archipelago of San Blas, the artist has travelled along India living in Kerala and then in the Himalaya. He has crossed Europe and showed his work in Paris, Madrid, Tallinn and Milan. The memory of his journeys and the places where he has lived are realised on his canvas. The process of creation is a complex assembly conjugating a subtle poetic and a technical mastery full up with references of art history. A qualified archaeologist, he displayed his works at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi this September The exhibition inaugurated by MoS Meenakshi Lekhi was made possible in coordination with the Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador and Indian Council for Cultural Relation (ICCR).

Rodolfo’s paintings can seem at first glance to be heavy, even opaque on the canvas, yet on closer inspection they became surprisingly varied in their textures. Parts of some works have an appealing heft, with collage elements and layers of oil paint worked into a thick impasto, while others can seem as light and delicate as fallen leaves. His paintings act almost like an axis that centres his distinctive stories. Carefully collected materials like wire, sand, and leaf, amongst others, synthesise together with his memories and result in a well-rehearsed composition. Acrylic and neon painted canvases delightfully demonstrate an accumulation of universal or mythological motifs simplified on the verge of abstraction. Correspondingly, he juxtaposition of geometrical patterns, colours, and textures codify his language yet make them intriguing. Taking an in-depth look at the composition reveals layers of motifs like architecture, temple, rays, the sun, the moon, and undoubtedly more. Perhaps, it depicts the sky with the movement of the sun or the moon in a three-dimensional space where possibly home is the key element. However, Rodolfo says that every painting eludes its viewer to interact for a specific time. The piece must have an inherent essence, intense enough to attract the viewer. It should drive the spectator to take in each detail as well as perceive the painting in its totality. The abstract forms of some works recall portraiture, while the perspectives and horizon line in others harks back to the landscape-painting tradition. Architectural elements frequently appear in Rodolfo’s work– railings, windows, arches, often in sombre colours that emphasise their geometric armatures – and show his interest in urban space and construction.

Far from pure abstraction, these works often lead us into explorations of the aesthetic possibilities of buildings, with their multiple planes and volumes, and the architectural forms of contemporary cities, which, in his hands, can look familiar to any city dweller yet also strange and even a bit alienating. This engagement with urban architecture also suggests a connection to his native El Salvador, the most urbanised country of Latin America. Rodolfo inhabits and plays out these contradictions in his work, without – to his great credit as an artist – ever trying to resolve them into neat packages, creating instead works that are complex, multi-layered and deeply human.

Posted on

Shades & Strokes

Lalit Kala Akademi plays host to Palette Stroke, a group exhibition of creative minds expressing their feelings with brushes, knives and tools to express human emotions, moods, agony and joys of life TEXT: TEAM ART SOUL LIFE

Palette Stroke, a group exhibition of 13 artists comprising both paintings and sculptures, began at Ravindra Bhawan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, on November 30, 2022. The exhibition of creative minds expresses their feelings with brushes, knives and tools using different colour palette, forms, space division, strokes and texture to express human emotions, moods, agony and joys of life.

Senior artist Anup Sharma tries to simplify the images which loom over his inner world through charcoal, colours, texture and forms. For Asmita Shah, the central theme of her artworks is the famous quote: “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” She has developed a feminine style with simple minimalistic figures. Each painting talks about different moods and the importance of colours in our life. Dr D. S. Chougale’s abstract work shows sentiments and visual representation of his choice of colours and subtleties of his strokes are a reflection of the prowess of inner vision and mystical experience of the artist.

Dr Jagdeesh Prasad Meena through his artwork ‘Household life’ shows various moments of happiness and sorrow to a person entangled in the chaos of family life and relationship with deep and gray tones. Dr Rajendra Parsad’s painting series “Misty Memories” is a symbolic display of feminist approach using space, rhythm and texture revealing hidden forms, leaving the viewers mesmerised. Artist Manisha Shrivastava’s subject of art emphasizes the spiritual expression, characters, history based key elements as subjective, experience, the physiological response and the behavioural response.

In the artworks of Rahul Ushahara, natural and artificial beauty is used in the form of raised marks on the surface of mind, which is depicted as different layers of colours in the all paintings. R. Solomon’s abstraction ‘Present Landscape’ attempts to show a bird’s eye view which makes the painting an interesting and pleasant experience for the viewer.

Minimalist approach towards colours is an amazing exploration of a two- colour palette on a large canvas of life reflecting the energy within the universe in Mona Jain’s paintings. Sculptor Dr Shailesh Kumar Patel’s ‘Soulmate’ shows a different kind of intimacy and emotion through sculpture of two heads separated but merged with each other.

Sanjay Kumar in his abstract painting uses the space beautifully to speak through peeping abstract motifs which are different and mesmeric. Anamika’s ‘Nature Creation’ is initially inspired by the social aspect, as she moved into socio-cultural values and gradually, the thoughts spread to nature.

Posted on

Beauty of the Hampi Ruins

Noida-based photographer Manoj Arora’s debut show Rediscover Hampi presents an immersive exploration of the city from a cultural vantage

Gurgaon-based luxury art curation company Masha Art presented photographer Manoj Arora’s debut show ‘Rediscover Hampi’ at Bikaner House featuring photographs that capture the beauty of the silent ruins of Hampi bringing alive its majestic and unseen side. Shot by young Arora during prolonged spells of Covid-19 that forced people to stay indoors, the September 13-22 show was a suite of 60 photographs that unveiled the historical beauty of the UNESCO-recognised landmark on the banks of the Tungabhadra river along east-central Karnataka, which once was a bustling hub of trade, life and patronage of the 14th century Vijayanagara empire.

Curated by veteran art scholar Uma Nair, the ten-dau show was a “narrative expression” of the sprawling monuments renowned for its stone sculptures across 16 square miles. “Not only do these five dozen visuals unveil Arora’s assemblage practices; the lens explores the nature of Hampi as a place of artistic expression,” noted Nair, about the lensman. The multi-colour photos are steeped in “historical, geographical and socio-political principles that are discursively powerful as well as personally resonant.”

The exhibition gave sight to Hampi’s temple and their murals as well, with the stone-carved gods and goddesses captured in the refractive indices of the sunset. “Arora yet again proves his capacity to re-center subjects such as architecture and history in cities he visits,” pointed out Nair. “His artistic engagements are biographical interventions into mainstream cultural consciousnesses.”

Masha Art CEO Samarth Mathur expressed pleasure over ‘Discovering Hampi’ being the gallery’s first show at Bikaner House. “The exhibition will generate pride and reverence for India’s heritage that goes back to generations,” he said. Arora, who has been a trained lensman in the profession for a decade, recalled that the setting sun casts an orange haze across the silent ruins of Hampi. “You cannot describe in words the beauty of this timeless place,” he said. “The relief-rich mouldings, columns and friezes are both divine and demon-like. The artworks on animals are both realist and mythical, truly magical.”

Often considered the ‘ultimate capital’ of the last of the great Deccan kingdoms that flourished from cotton and spice trade, Hampi’s mediaeval charm is also with splendid palaces and jewelsdotting temples built in Dravidian style. Arora, while spending days amid the pandemic last year after seven hours of bumpy northward drive from Bangalore, found its spaces “evoking a spiritual experience.” The exhibition was conceived as an “open-ended index of historical, speculative and emergent instantiations of space through time,” according to Nair and Arora.

There is an indescribable beauty in this timeless place that doesn’t require a language to express. I want people to feel and experience this 14th century city and take pride in the country’s heritage.

Posted on

Mirror & Reflection

Cosmetic scientist gavin kochar, who moonlights as an artist under the pseudonym of Gavalav, creates art based on the philosophy of creation through experimentation, says Yukti narang

The first thing we notice when we look at art is relatability. Our choice of artworks for exhibition, curation, or entertainment are mainly influenced by our ideas on what art and artistic beauty mean to us. Since the concept doesn’t need to be developed, it naturally arises along with attraction and connection. This teaches us more about the range, the motions, and the urge to express. It takes energy and understanding, ambiance and action and sometimes research and conversations and then we wonder how it is that we never knew of the stretch of the word, ‘art.’

Gavin Kochar, proudly introduced in the art world as ‘Gavalav’ is an artist who emerged with this very idea attached to his paintings. He began creating his art pieces that were aptly treasured and deeply admired by collectors, gallerists and art enthusiasts. As a creator based in New Delhi, India, he originally completed his education in the cosmetic sciences and runs a successful cosmetic brand for perfumes and skincare. Gavin is both an artist and a businessperson. When he started painting he chose the name ‘Gavalav’ for himself. It was one name his friend often called him in college and he chose it as a means to perform his act of painting with complete freedom. He started his journey in art around four years ago as a young individual looking for a unique and creative outlet. A self-taught artist, he brought a sense of identity and perspective along with fresh practices and the escalation of the modern art movement across a universal understanding of figurative art and a system of admiration that had embraced abstract art by younger creators. He believed that scientific knowledge helped him in creating art, mixing unique chemicals and novel textures in his paints to blend them and create newer techniques and hues. Gavalav has always been fond of sketching, reading and learning about artists before he tried his hand at painting which he understood was a form of therapy and relaxation for his soul. Even before he became a painter he collected art and had continually been an admirer of F.N. Souza, Tyeb Mehta, Picasso, M.F. Husain, and Jean-Michel Basquiat – artists who have been known since history to create expressionist works with modern outlooks on art mediums and cubism in paintings. Gavalav’s art reflects a similar sense of cubism technique, surrealist approach, and convulsed realism on canvas. A current state of the self reflects in his paintings like a looking glass that mirrors identities. This can be seen in his works of endless realities.

The artist’s pieces bend toward portraits with expressionism, distortion and mirage-like veracities and the emotional contortion that one often feels but cannot express. His paintings, ‘The Mad Queen’, ‘Hand of God,’ and ‘Mind and Matter’ to name a few prompt sagacity from the artist’s standpoint but never force one idea or authenticity.

The emotional turmoil and tensions along with wonder and wanton actions are brought onto the canvas with pop colour schemes, contrasting tints and incredible pursuits of blending. He often uses references from auctions, coffee table books and his own paintings that work as a collective influence in his artmaking. For him, music is a huge stimulus that brings his most tender memories or raw feelings to the anterior and merges them with new philosophies. Songs and other art forms hold the power of reinvention and affect devices of change in a painting and the way it needs to be propagated by the artist. The subsequent end of motivation for Gavalav’s paintings is fashion. Artworks enthused from and for clothing, shoes and statement pieces are some of his most precious events to take up in life. Style and methods of influence convey his best form when he creates painted works and figures for his friends and comrades, prints them on their collectibles, and has even collaborated with labels like ‘Warping Theories’ and ‘Crepdog Crew.’ Gavalav has had the opportunity to view the rise of NFTs in the art space and although he appears rather interested in the idea of creating digital art, he wishes to learn more about the impact and qualities before delving into the medium despite being an admirer. He considers digital art to be a tincture potion for young art makers, helping them rise in the world of art and to express themselves without restriction. As Gavalav mentions “Within my moments of creation, my mind and art are one” Often his early idea for a painting and the final execution diverges at different points in the creative process but his works always find their inkling conforming with the admirer. The artist’s works as he also explicates, speak to admirers and reflect their understanding of art back to them just like a hand mirror.

Posted on

The Best in Class

Founded by art collector Surender Sharma in 1983, Tarun Art Gallery has established a reputation for presenting the best in contemporary and modern art as well as promote young and promising talent.

If you are looking for an art gallery featuring stunning and immersive art with reputation, famous artists, exquisite paintings, and also fine art consultants to help you buy art, look no further than the New Delhi-based iconic Tarun Art Gallery, or TAG, as it’s popularly known. Founded by Shri Surender Sharma, who’s clearly passionate for art by bringing together master talents in 1983, TAG has flourished as a strong pillar in today’s fast evolving industry of Indian art. The gallery specialises in modern and contemporary art; from the second half of the 19th century through the 20th century and up to the present day. This strictly defined specialisation allows the gallery to offer works of art professionally and diligently based on reliable contacts with the art market environment, many years of experience and rich bibliographic material. The gallery’s primary activities are to present the works of art greats as an essential complement to the art offered in the Indian fine art industry. The works of Indian masters are sold with a certification proving their authenticity and provenance. Besides, it is the gallery’s primary ambition to promote young and evolving Indian artists, graduates of leading art schools in the country, winners of important competitions and creators of important exhibitions. While monitoring artistic events from around the globe, the gallery singles out interesting works and then promotes their creators at exhibitions and fairs on both national and international levels.

Vision and Mission: The gallery aims to connect people to art by encouraging, supporting and nurturing native and international creative talents. TAG’s vision is to establish and become an innovative and creative niche for visual arts all over India and beyond by providing access to art to all sections of society and enriching them with artworks.

  • Establish strong relations with various forms of institutions and organisations to promote Indian art and heritage.
  • To make artworks available as an easy asset to serve the purpose of alternative investment.
  • To prepare the next generation of artists, mastering their art and contributing to the ever- evolving art industry.


Art valuation and Consultancy: We provide professional consultancy services for art collection.

Exhibition and Curatorial Services: We exhibit Indian and international artists through our own gallery space and also provide platforms to participate and exhibit their creativity on other platforms.

Display Services: We provide the finest of the display services in private and public spaces with high-quality materials.

Artist Assessment and Management: We provide an active platform to the new budding artists in their formative years by developing their . portfolio, documentation and marketing.

Archiving and Documentation: TAG functions on solid grounds of fair and organised documentation of art collection and archival collection. Conservation and Restoration: We value your passion and deep concern for safe keeping of the artworks. Therefore, TAG provides the finest of the conservation and restoration services.


Managing Director Mr. Surender Sharma

Director Mr. Tarun Sharma

A beloved patron to many artists, he is the prime visionary for bringing TAG to its present state. Since 1982, he has been a prominent art collector and much sought after by many advisory panels for his expertise and vast knowledge of Indian modern art. His faith in Indian artists is rock solid and he has been very close to legendary artists like M. F. Husain (now his son Shamshad Husain), F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza, Ram Kumar, Paritosh Sen and more . In the year 2001, Bikash Poddar gifted him his most loved work depicting the Kamadhenu (holy cow) on canvas. In 1995, as an art consultant, he was part of Husain’s exhibition based on Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene. Comprising paintings depicting Madhuri in various avatars as Menaka with Vishwamitra, Madhuri with Meryl Streep, leaning over a bridge in Madison County and Clint Eastwood on horseback, Madhuri as Radha with Nand Lala, Madhuri playing tennis at Wimbledon etc. The show was held in New Delhi at the Art Today Gallery. In the year 2006, he participated at the Hub India art show curated by the well-known Myna Mukherjee. The show took place in Turin, Italy.

In 2016, TAG experienced a breath of youth when the young and dynamic, Mr Tarun Sharma, officially took charge as the Director of the gallery. Till that time, he had spent his life meeting people and exploring the Indian art scene up close and personal. Having spent more than a decade in the industry, he inherited his passion for art from his father, Mr Surender Sharma. In 2019, Mr Surender Sharma and Mr Tarun Sharma were leading art advisors to the event called ‘Hallucinations’, organised by Moolagudam Art Gallery, Hyderabad. Mr Tarun Sharma’s childhood was filled with many personal episodes that crafted his passion for art. It was first triggered when he received a painting from none other than M. F. Husain, who personally gifted it to him. Artist Manjit Bawa once drew a small drawing of his signature figure of a cow to cheer him. Also, F. N, Souza gifted him art material. The ambience of his home due to his father’s profession and active involvement only further nurtured his love for visual art and encouraged him to become a fine art collector.

He has taken TAG to new heights keeping the vision and mission as his prime focus. He has played a key role in many consultations along with his father. In the year 2020, the exhibition at World Art Dubai (6th Edition), was successfully executed under his leadership not only as the head of TAG, but also as the curator of the show. Today, Mr Tarun’s role is essential for the smooth functioning of TAG. While leading TAG, Mr Tarun has also established a parallel firm entitled, ‘Ask Investo’ which is a consulting firm covering almost every investment asset all over India, like luxury articles, real estate, antiques etc. Ask Investo assists its clients through guidance of investments in various assets.

Organising Exhibitions
The gallery organises exhibitions in select galleries and exhibition halls in India and abroad. The gallery also fulfils a curatorial role and prepares exhibitions on the order of other institutions such as companies, galleries and arts foundations in the scope of the selection of works, their arrangement, organisation and supervision.

Some of the events:
In 2020, World Art Dubai’s sixth edition featured an impressive collection of more than 300 artworks. Predominantly contemporary and covering all mediums, each piece came from a renowned gallery or solo artist, and all together represented creativity from more than 30 countries. TAG adorned its section at the World Art Dubai with works of Indian artists like Nilay Sarkar, Bikash Poddar, Tapan Dash and Kishore Roy. In 2014, Rotary District held a live auction of Modern and Contemporary Art by Mr Surender Sharma with the association of Mr Purrsshotam Bheggeria at Durbar Hall, The Taj Palace Hotel, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi.

Business and Art events: TAG develops concepts and organises events comprehensively connected with business and art presentations. It cooperates with many proven sub-contractors: techniques, artists, designers etc.

Felix Café, Goa, 2022: This year, we had an exhibition at the Goan Portuguese-style villa that houses a restaurant, coffee shop and a traditional bar in a lush tropical garden and an indoor space in Anjuna, featuring artworks by master artists like K. G. Subramanyam, S. H. Raza, M. F. Husain etc.

Triveni Kala Sangam, 2019: Live painting at the inauguration by eminent artist Ranjit Sarkar at the event, Aarohan, an event of music and dance in association with Sai Shinjini and Sun Foundation.

BMW, Mathura Road, 2015: Art exhibition at the Mercedes Car launch. Corporate Art The company is preparing the concept of introducing art to the public and corporate spaces for selected clients and advising corporate clients on the scope of creating collections of artworks for collectors, interior designers and event management.

Art Collection Management: TAG is equipped with highly skilled art professionals who hold expertise in managing art collections. They not only do organised cataloguing, but are also trained to carry out methods of preventive conservation.

Commissioned Art: We offer the creation of custommade artworks such as portraits, murals etc. Insurance Services: We understand the value of your art collection, both materially and emotionally and thus provide well-channelised procedural insurance services to keep one safe from losses.