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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Public Art Matters

Current times demand more art in public spaces that can penetrate and address the echelons of society in a language that is familiar, says Divya Menon after meeting Indranil Garai

Art in public spaces has always been a magnificent reality in a man’s life that has traversed various landscapes over time. From being mere visual reminders of history to becoming our only respite in these pandemic challenged times, makes it all the more imperative to be viewed through the lens of renewed experience. There is something arcane about art buried in the stoic silence of galleries and museums. Bearing a crucifix called ‘elitist’ their proximity with the common man is compromised. Contrarily, art in public spaces is a force that can transform a nondescript street into a vortex of shared experiences and memories. Current times demand more of such art magazine that can penetrate and address the echelons of society in a language that is familiar.

This sets the prelude to several overlapping stories. One, about how in 2000, Indranil Garai, a young sculptor from Kolkata, fresh from Santiniketan moved to Pune, a smaller and still growing city then and went on to establish IGA – one of the most important art consultancies in the Country today. This is also a narrative on interesting liaisons between art magazine pune, space and common man.

Sometime in 2007 at Alibaug, in the ISPAT (JSW ISPAT currently) steel factory grounds, a colossus of scrap was resurrected to birth iconic pieces of flamingos designed by Indranil. His team supervised the project that was completed on site by the factory’s workers. This helped foster a sense of belonging and pride in the workers who were absorbed into the creative process on their very own turf, establishing a deep synergy. With this project, Indranil identified that the future of art in public spaces would be a chapter pegged around the words, democratization, design, space, aesthetics, collaboration and marketing. We get talking from across the boundaries of two different states over an imaginary cup of coffee and the discussion on art in public spaces demolishes several boundaries focussing on imagination! A whole new landscape and awareness unfolds as he shares his experience, insights, design and space concepts. Sometimes creation is not a process of building or learning, it may be quite the opposite too – one of unlearning and undoing, a deflection, a path less travelled.

Reminiscing the journey towards IGA, he says, “I moved to Pune in 2000 where my wife Payal, who was my fiancée then, was apprenticing under pioneer lady potter Nirmala Patwardhan. The developing city that presented great possibilities for a fresher, interested me. However, I only had ideas to sell and did not know how to go about it. Fortunately, an architect took me up on a ten walls mural job on the Clover Watergardens housing project in 2000. Then, between 2001 and 2003, two prestigious projects came my way, namely The Ruby Hall Clinic hospital project and The Corinthians Club, a hospitality project, and then there was no looking back!”

In 2009 Indranil Garai & Associates was registered in Pune as a firm practicing in designing Art magazine pune spaces. He recollects, “The years following ISPAT Alibaug project (JSW ISPAT currently) were eventful. Two interesting projects, one in Bengaluru in 2008 and another at Delhi in 2010 necessitated professionals to oversee the work on site. College mates and sculptors Chiranjib Ghosh and Sumit Roy took up these roles in Bengaluru and Delhi respectively, and currently, Chiranjib heads IGA’s Bengaluru studio while Sumit heads the Pune magazine art studio as Associates”.

Indranil is the think-tank of IGA and also heads the marketing while the Associates take care of operations. IGA’s verticals are IGA Projects, IGA Landscape Pottery headed by Payal Garai, IGA Galleria headed by Zahhabiya Hamiid, IGA Open Studio, IGA Limited Edition,, a one stop destination for art needs which is a work in progress and Adipa, a newly acquired Company specialized in handmade ceramic nameplates. IGA Galleria is a platform that showcases works of artists across all genres and IGA Open Studio offers the artist as well as the layman the luxury of exploring and understanding art through public events and workshops.

Sharing IGA’s vision, Indranil says, “Aesthetic enrichment is one of the things we try to bring into our creations. Art and architecture were cohesive entities in India at one time until British rule caused them to part ways. Aesthetics, which is sacrosanct to the Indian way of life, is but missing in most public art in our country and we are trying to bring it back”. Having said that, IGA stakes no claims to creating magnificent contemporary art magazine, however, what they strive for is to create engaging spaces as they believe that art isn’t art until it begins to mingle with common man.

Collaboration is a keyword in public space art. The SP Shukobrishti by Shapoorji Palonji Co. Pvt. Ltd in Kolkata demonstrates this. Site study by Indranil directed him to a pre-existing miniature in the studio of Sushen Ghosh, ex-HOD of Sculpture and ex-Principal at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. The original multiplied in size was constructed on site into the staggering repetitive columns we see today. IGA’s works at Water Lilly in Chennai and Prestige South Ridge in Bangalore also boast of similar collaborations, at Chennai with Kolkata-based artist Nobina Gupta and at Bengaluru with Hyderabad-based Artist Kuntal Dey!

Space has an intent, energy and identity beyond its physicality. It is a melting pot of several histories, voices and experiences. Space is the most consecrated part of IGA’s business. IGA sculptures at the Swanubhooti Vatika in Art magazine pune by Chinmaya Mission expounds this by aiding the vision of this unique enlightenment park to become a self-discovery space for visitors. Materiality and form are evidently subordinate in IGA’s scheme of things. Where physical distance from people must be exercised, the sculpture may have sharp edges for instance. Those at a mall or an IT Park would permit limited proximity while those for schools would be invariably children safe and invite interaction. Recounting his journey this far, Indranil says that as the son of the celebrated sculptor Tarak Garai, growing in an environment enriched by aesthetic art shaped his ideologies and art was not serendipitous at all!

However, finding his own voice happened only during his Masters in Sculpture at Santiniketan. He discovered his calling towards large sculpture making while working on a project with B.V.Doshi, the iconic architect, recipient of the prestigious Pritzker award. Indranil also holds a diploma in Interior Designing from Jenson and Nicholson. As a Joint Director of the Pune Biennale Foundation, Indranil is responsible for the branding and marketing of the event. He believes that marketing is a misinterpreted and stigmatized word that has been equated with selling. He says, “unlike in the West, where art marketing forms part of the art course, our education system sadly leaves a vacuum when it comes to grooming art students to market their art”.

Working on his first book on how to sell art, Indranil says, “Marketing is essentially an opportunity for building relationships and sale is merely the result of that bond. And, there are so many different ways to address this negotiation”. Through each of IGA’s verticals, and designs, this bond is what they strive to create by bridging the gap between man and higher art.

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The Hidden Art of Madhubani

Much like the upper caste tradition of Kachni and Bharni Mithila paintings, the Dalits have for decades been decorating the walls of their homes with an alternate art form called Godna TEXT: TEAM ART SOUL LIFE

We have all heard of Madhubani or Mithila art which is said to have developed in the ancient city of Mithila, the birthplace of Sita, daughter of King Janak. It is said that the Mithila paintings were commissioned by the king to commemorate the marriage of his daughter to Lord Rama of Ayodhya. It was recognised as kulin art, or art of the pure castes.Traditionally, these paintings were done by Brahmin and Kayastha women. Ganga Devi, a Kayastha, and Sita Devi, a Brahmin were the two pioneers of Mithila paintings on paper. While Ganga excelled at kanchi or line paintings, Sita Devi developed the bharni style or “filled” associated with the Brahmin community. However, there exists an alternate art form by marginalised communities that seldom comes into limelight. Much like the upper caste tradition of Kachni and Bharni Mithila paintings, the Dalits have for decades been decorating the walls of their homes, which looks similar to Alpana (floor) paintings, but are different in motifs used, which is stylistically typical to the Dalits, namely the Dusadh community in the village of Jitwarpur in Bihar. Much like the upper caste tradition of Kachni and Bharni Mithila paintings, the Dusadhs castes have, for decades, been decorating the walls of their homes for rituals. However, because of their lower caste status, they were not allowed to showcase the divine in their artform. Thus, they found inspiration in geometric forms and flora-fauna surrounding the village.

Among the many decorative styles from these castes was the Godna style, inspired from the Godna (tattoo) art practised by the Nattin (Gypsy) women. Their visual language includes parallel lines and concentric circles containing floral motifs and the human form. More recently, local heroes are drawn in this style of painting. Raja Salhesh’s oral narratives and paintings, for example, are used as a symbol of resistance against upper-caste politics. He was a military man, who is now revered as a king, remembered for standing up against the discrimination of Dusadhs. Since 1972, even the Brahmins and Kayasthas have appropriated the style.

The credit to Dalit inclusion in Mithila paintings goes to a German anthropologist, Erika Moser. Works on paper painted by low-caste women appeared for the first time during the 1970s when Moser visited the Madhubani district to study and film the crafts and rituals of the Dusadh. Moser encouraged the Dusadh women to paint on paper with the aim of generating extra income. The Dusadh women, encouraged by Moser, began to take inspiration from their own oral, cosmological and aesthetic traditions. When Moser, also a film-maker and social activist, first started persuading the impoverished Dusadh community to paint, the women, caught up in hard physical work, expressed inability to do so as they had little awareness of the stories of Hindu deities usually depicted in Mithila paintings. A guiding hand from their high-caste counterparts seemed difficult owing to social differences. This is where motivation and skill-specific advisory, from the likes of Moser and American anthropologist Raymond Lee Owens, came in handy. The result was that Dusadhs started capturing their oral history — such as the chronicles of local deity Raja Salhesa — and depictions of their primary god Rahu in their paintings, which were carried out using a bamboo pen and black ink. This style was adopted by a large number of Dusadh women and evolved over time to include the use of plant designed colour schemes based on flowers, leaves, barks, fruits. They developed three styles and techniques that are specific to them.The first was initiated by Chano Devi (1938- 2010), a National Awardee, and takes tattoos as its stimulus.

This style is now known by the name godhana (godna means tattoo). These paintings are largely composed of lines, concentric circles, and circles filled with motifs taken from the flora and fauna. During this time, Mumbaibased artist Bhaskar Kulkarni, who assisted cultural activist Pupul Jayakar to revive many traditional Indian arts, including Warli, saw Chano’s work and bought a lot of her artworks besides encouraging her to work more. Chano and her husband Rodi Paswan in their attempts to popularise and mainstream this art form trained several artists. This style is easily recognisable by its sepia background that is attained through applying cow dung diluted water on paper. Chano also started to experiment with natural colours in order to create a more distinctive style. These colours later became the main identifier of Dalit Godna paintings, as other painters too started to abandon the use of Holi colours in favour of those made from cowdung base, leaves, flowers, vegetables, barks, and roots. Godna painting remains a relatively lesser-known form as compared to kachhni and Mithila paintings. Dalit artisans practicing this art form are still struggling to get a decent income in markets. The art and its history has not yet received the appreciation and recognition that it should. Meanwhile, a group of locals from Bastar in Chhattisgarh has taken up the task of reviving the region’s age-old ‘Godna’ art form, which they believe is the only ornament that remains with them even after death. This primitive artistry, known for traditional designs like the bow and arrow and bison horn headgear, is waning in the fast-changing world as people are more attracted towards the modern tattoo designs. A catalogue of the traditional Godna patterns and stories behind them is also being prepared to conserve this art form, a prominent tattoo artist from the state said.

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Restless & Relentless

C. S. Krishna Setty adopts a multidisciplinary approach to his art and his Veteran Series 1 makes a shift from dark floating images to semi abstract and dramatic with graphic intonations, says Saraswathy K Bhattathiri

Eminent artist, printmaker, art critic and columnist, C. S. Krishna Setty says his inner being urges him to reveal suppressed and unexpressed feelings. He says, “They have to come out, otherwise it’ll become intolerable. And I am most comfortable with visual art, so that means paper, canvas, colours…” Setty, whose work titled “Veteran Series 1” at a Bengaluru Art Gallery gives out a sense of restless, yet focused drive for self exploration and artistic evangelism, says as human beings, we are different from other species and we need to express our thoughts. “Being part of this beautiful and curious world, I have my own experiences and feelings, which need to be expressed,” says the ex-chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. The artist, who was also the founder president of Drushya Kala Sahitya Parishad, an organisation formed to encourage art writing in Karnataka, is a postgraduate in Kannada literature from Mysore University. “Basically, I am a painter; but due to some compulsions I took up art criticism and became a columnist for several years. For a while, I also headed the Lalit Kala Akademi.

I was an organiser and administrator of many art fairs/events/camps. But it did not give me the satisfaction I wanted. So recently, I switched back to painting.” He clarifies. His new series makes a kind of shift from dark floating images to semi abstract, dramatic and graphic intonations. Setty adopts a multidisciplinary approach to his art where he redefines the artist beyond media divisions. The characters and objects emerge out of the picture planes instead of externally inserting them into the surface of the canvas. The Veteran Series 1 is an assemblage of semi-abstract illusions and floating figures that elucidate a sense of spontaneity and automatism. Micro-organism like in macro scales, one set of his drawings are unleashed, yet mysterious bawdy that coincides with Freudian libido analogous to the title of the show. These works excavate a non-contemplative visual intellect interwoven with personal occurrences smeared transversely within a preconceived picture plane. The series of work takes its inspiration from daily life situations which are psychologically entwined with early fables. He also adds vivid colours of crayons to his palette and elements from nature like fishes and snakes. The pinks and the blues stand apart from his display at Subliminal Excavations as it echoes a different mode of perception in his practice from dark gloomy to vibrant spectacles. The play of aesthetics in his works goes beyond its apolitical appearance to submerged connotations where the lineage itself becomes a political choice; a choice to address the self-excluding its ever changing transactions with hegemonic structures. These works share a sense of ephemeral quality as they exclusively refrain from evident dialogues on a cultural past or future. Nevertheless, his works situate itself in the contemporary times ascribable to the inclusive attitudes of the era so as to relinquish reiterations of antecedence. It also fetches in questions of how artistic temperaments juggle between channelising genuine experiences, contesting with abundance and intervening through a broader spectrum of ideations and visuals in a practice. With an inbuilt surrealist undertone, his body of work echoes as an amalgamation of his childhood memories of theatre plays and native folk art. He juxtaposes metaphors from nature and holds mythological lineation bringing immediate local discourses paralleling his otherwise political concerns. The textural qualities in his works not only demonstrate his influences from printmaking, but also a contest for the texture of the given surface. One can see cinematic persuasions in his silhouette’s images on frozen pictorial spaces. Blending the visual, literary and the theatrical, his works bridge the performative to the non- performative white cube art, which refutes the binary, hierarchical and puritanism attitudes in the realm of art production, display and discourse. Born in 1952, Setty hails from Thirthahalli, Shimoga district, Karnataka.

He pursued Fine Arts from the University College of Art, Davangere, and commenced research in graphics from Garhi Studios, New Delhi. He holds a postgraduate degree in Literature from Mysore University and a post-graduate Diploma in Public Relations from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. “Over the years, many national and international artists have shaped and inspired me. But my artistic role models are Anselm Kiefer and Antoni Tàpies. They have moved me through unusual modes of process and material. What great creators they are,” says the artists, who believes that the purpose of art is to produce thinking and introspection. “It should shake us into revelations and rip us from our default mode of seeing.” he avers. Setty’s art writings were aimed at blending the literary, visual and the theatrical as well as addressing the mobility of art through the vernacular language writing as we can notice in his extensive writings in Kannada. He deploys a unique method of fusing the western psychic theories with Indian aesthetics and one can notice this in an anthology of essays on art criticism ‘Chitrachitta’ where he connects a wide range of art forms from folk, classical to the performative. He also published books on Expressionism, Drishya kale Endarenu and was art critic for popular newspaper Prajavani. He directed the serial ‘Chitrantharanga’ for Doordarshan. Setty’s major collections are in Lalitkala Academy, New Delhi, Bharat Bhavan Bhopal, Lalit Kala Academy Madras, Manchester, Switzerland and Denmark etc.

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Catch Them Young

Hyderabad-based Iconart Gallery organises show featuring works of 40 artists to initiate the young to acquire art

Buy Art, an affordable art exhibition which has been a regular feature of Hyderabad-based Iconart Gallery since 2013, had a new curator this year: Gandra Lipika Rao, who took the reins from her mother and gallery founder, Avani. Armed with an ISB degree with a specialisation in marketing, Lipika quit her corporate job in 2018 to get into the arts sector and has been conducting art therapy workshops since then. Her interactions with people in their 20s and 30s opened new horizons in this new journey. “The youth who are now making their living are interested in the arts. Some of them want to build their new homes beautifully but are not sure what their taste is and where to start,” says Lipika, adding that the show is also an opportunity for the youth to grow their art collection. “An art collection connects with the wealthy but with so many emerging artists, buyers can start young and explore their own taste in art.” She wants to make art more accessible to a wider demographic, including a young clientele. That is probably why her curated show is called ‘Young Collectors’ Conclave’, featuring works of 40 artists across the country, from July 30 to August 20. “Even a small and selective art collection brings in an intensity of emotional expressions, positivity and vibrancy into the atmosphere at home, office or public spaces,” says Lipika. “It inculcates in the household, work place, in their children and employers a larger vision of looking at life. In other words, it builds the culture of the place even as it financially propels the value of the art works,” she adds. Young people investing in art involve in identifying new talent, in fostering artists as patrons and also making business sense out of the involvement in sourcing and collection art, Lipika says. She believes the internet boom and free wheel travel around the world by young people for their education, careers, holidays have accelerated the interest in art – with visits to galleries, museums marked on their ‘must do’ list of things. Her curatorial note states: “Public spaces of art in cities have become points of interest and curiosity world over. The visual access of images and videos, participating in discussions about art are now accessible for active participation like never before, making it a fertile space to explore, acquire, appreciate and invest in the art of their choices, using their own discretion and thus developing aesthetic and critical appraisal of art around the world. This privilege was accessible to very few earlier. These facilities and technological revolutions have brought art to the doorsteps of every household in various capacities.

It’s the right time for young people to use these platforms and enrich their lives with the profoundness that art expresses.” Lipika says in these times of visual bombardment and lack of attention due to the upsurge in the use of visual media on social media, it’s now become more important to learn to discern, to be aware of valuable creative, cultural aspects, from the ever-spewing imagery around. “Collecting and appreciating art brings in an opportunity to nurture artistic talent by becoming a patron of art and in acquiring an increasing knowledge of artistic practices around the world, which is forever breaking new grounds, fostering creativity and innovation of human expression,” she says. The Young Collectors Conclave “is a first of many upcoming programmes that creates access to quality, affordable art. The art works are carefully selected for a variety of genres and styles ranging from natural, realistic, figurative, abstract expressionist, with pricing accessible to every budget,” she adds. It’s in the plan to have more art exhibitions, workshops, lectures, both online and in real time to reach out to more youngsters to take interest in art collection – whilst creating a more vibrant cultural awareness of art appreciation and preservation.

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Fantastic Five

With nature as the core subject, 33 artists come together to create magic on canvas with their expressionist works and faith in spirituality

Panchmahabhoot refers to the five fundamental elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space- that are responsible for the creation of the Universe, including humans. These elements have different characteristics and also account for different faculties of human experience. Keeping in mind the importance of these elements in sustaining the world, an art show was curated by Neeraj Sharma, in which art stalwarts from across the country, including National Award winners, gathered under one roof to showcase their best works. The show was inaugurated by octogenarian visual artist Roop Chand at the Visual Arts Gallery, IHC, New Delhi. Eminent artist G. R. Iranna and author Taslima Nasrin were among the many dignitaries to take a closer look at the artworks. Talking about the show, the curator said, “Last year we planned an art camp in the holy town of Varanasi on the theme Panchmahabhoot, but the pandemic sabotaged all our plans and we postponed the camp. When things went back to normal, we finally decided to put the show together at the prestigious Visual Arts Gallery, in which 33 artists including seniors, emerging and young talent took part with their thoughtful works numbering 77.”

During all the five days, the show received a volume of art lovers which included surgeons, physicians, techies, well-known poets and writers, celebrity artists, talented actors and directors, which in itself tells the grand success of the exhibition. “With nature as the core subject, most paintings in the exhibition represented expressionism and the artists’ faith in spirituality and some of the artists’ works are done in a centrifugal manner. The bold and vibrant use of colours on canvas was nothing less than a breath of fresh air for art admirers,” Sharma said. The exhibition was very well received in the art community, added Sharma, who is also the founder of Speaking Art Foundation (SAF) – an organisation that works to bridge the gap between art admirers and artists and educate people about art. Thanking all the people who helped him achieve his goal, he said, “My sincere gratitude to the living legends of art, who unconditionally supported me and became a part of this dream venture. As a non-profit organisation, my effort has always been to serve art humbly, and I believe, together we can do it,” he remarked.

The participating artists were: Amit Dutt, Anil Kohli, Arup K. Biswas, Ashok Bhowmick, Banee Singh, Chanchal Ganguly, Dr Chhaya Kumari, Dr Deepti Jain, Dr Doyel Sinha, Dr Neerja Chandna Peters, Dr Nishit Jain, Dr Suryasnata Mohanty, Geetu Thakur, Gursimran Kaur, Harsh Inder Loomba, Jatin Chaudhary, K. Vishwanathan, Madhu Dhir, Mamta Dahiya, Manomoy Das, Meenakshi Jha Banerjee, Meha Khanna, Nawal Kishore, Padam Chand, Prem Singh, Rajshree Verma, Ramchandra Pokale, Sanjay Bhola ‘Dheer’, Sapna Gupta, Sharyu Amoda, Shilpa Miridul, Sukhmani Kaur and Swati Goyal. SAF works throughout the year to provide opportunities to artists at different levels by organising exhibitions, workshops, camps, demonstrations, art talks, art competitions and performances. It creates a platform where promising and established artists can interact, learn and grow together, exhibit their talent and express themselves freely without any boundaries.