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Three Decades of Creativity, the Journey Continues

Advaiya Bhraman, a solo exhibition of Aarti Zaveri features salient works curated from her entire body of works

Advaiya Bhraman, an exhibition of paintings along with installations and video art by Aarti Zaveri, was held at AIFACS in New Delhi, from September 15 to 28, 2023. Aarti Zaveri, a seasoned multidisciplinary visual artist, has three decades of artistic practice behind her.

She identifies herself as an artist of planet Earth with an inclusive world view. This perspective enables her to conjure up art that is not bound by language or geography. Her aesthetics have grown with her sensitivity and keen sense of observation particularly with respect to the changes in topography as a result of rapid growth and modernization, reflecting the impact of urbanization on our ecology.

Aarti’s creative verve is expressed through different mediums and forms. Right from painting, sculptures, installations, site-specific art works, to video art, she does it all. Human consciousness-centric, Aarti has had many thought-provoking solo exhibitions on varied subjects. Her own aesthetics in art have also transformed over the last three decades.

From being a celebrated portrait artist of gallant soldiers and martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces, to paintings that explore time, space and the mind, Aarti has moved into the realm of abstract works layered with complex thoughts.

‘Pehchaan’, Aarti’s mask series explores diverse human emotions. It started with her making army portraits, many of which adorn government offices including the secretariat building in Delhi. It made her view the real expressions one has on their face and not the one that is just a flitting glance. The artist shares her thought process on mask and says, “My mask tries to convey that everyone carries a great light within, a treasure, one should introspect and try to discover their own centre. My masks are not asking to renounce materialistic things, but to renounce the greed, selfishness and jealousy that the mind loves to feed on. That is the real problem today. It is blocking the way within which I would call the centre. Rejoice in the state of not-knowing and great wisdom will be released, the peace within will be awakened. Only that will give you the taste of eternity.

Her ‘Life (+-)’ is a mixed media on canvas which were created during the testing times of the Covid pandemic. Then there is ‘Jigsaw Puzzle of Beautiful Life’ where life is premised as a puzzle and of trying to fit in features in another thought-provoking series of paintings. The idea of time is central to a whole exhibition leading to another one dwelling on timeless moments. The fluidity of a clock in images creates a whole new narrative. These journeys of paintings are interspersed with site specific installations and public art including international participation and projects to create awareness about subjects that she holds dear to her: Nature, its elements particularly water and rivers to the Fragility of the Habitat. This latter was a large public installation at the India Habitat Centre, Delhi this year.

An interactive session with Aarti Zaveri in the show provided an opportunity to gain insights into how an artist grows in understanding, the creative churning of subjects that play a role in shaping works and enable viewers to have a new perspective. Art has the ability to bring about changes both at an individual as well as collective level and that is something central to Aarti’s aesthetics which focuses on the ability of art to transcend boundaries and boundations.