Making the invisible, visible

by Georgina Maddox
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An exhibition at the Surrendra Paul Art Gallery brings attention to the visual poetry of six established and emerging artists works.
The late artist Jagdish Swaminathan once said, “If you are watching a waterfall, or a storm at sea with the sound track cut off, the visual palpitation leads you to lend an attentive ear to the silent music of creation.”It is these words of poetry by the great artist, that guide me while I was curating the exhibition Pervade the Picture Space at the Surrendra Paul Art Gallery, Sangeet Shyamala in Vasant Vihar. Featuring the works of six artists, the exhibition is intended to uncover this visual sound that pervades the picture plane, through acts of looking and comprehension at different levels. The exhibition probes into that idea observing the myriad picture spaces created by each artist with both the formal aspects and the message behind the metaphor.
It features the works of celebrated artists Anwar Khan, Bimmi Khan, Marie Dias Arora and Anil Gaikwad alongside emerging names like Sheikh Hifzul Kabeer and Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi. Each artist essays their mysteries on the picture plane sharing their confidences with the world. Some dig into their past, tap into their pathos while others use humor to essay their point of view. They all converge at the same point, making visible that which is invisible to the human eye.
The exhibition and all other activity at Sangeet Shyamala is orchestrated by well-known artist Vasundhara Tewari Broota, who is the acting director of the multi-disciplinary space. Tewari-Broota’s sister Chetna Jalan is a close associate who facilities the performing arts section at Sangeet Shyamala. She is a well-known theatre-actor, Kathak dancer and choreographer. Together they enliven the space which provides children and adults with a multi-pronged approach to nurturing and promoting the fine arts.
Returning to the exhibition, Pervade the Picture Space, the works of artist Anwar have been described by Kolkata art critic curator Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya of having this impact: “It is as if he were standing with a candle in his hand in the midst of nature with its civilization now in ruins.” In his latest work that is part of this exhibition, one gets a sense of this lost civilization, however there is also a vigorous hope that engulfs the work. Anwar Khan’s recent paintings are dominated by a vertical division of space, often splitting the paper into two contrasting colors and pulling all the activity on the surface towards it.
Bimmy Khan’s subtle lines and preference for monochromatic works complement and contrast with the profusion of colours on the other canvases. She believes that Modern art speaks of this world, but a canvas speaks to our imagination. Her works convey a vibrant, lively and elegant impression, a subtle import that slowly reveals itself on each viewing so that the works are never static.
Marie Dias Arora’s delicate graphic lines explore the world of feminine concerns, from child-birth to the fertility of the earth. Trained in etching in Paris under international printmaker Krishna Reddy and William Hayter, Dias-Arora was a printmaker and graphic artist besides being a painter. Recently though she has been working with Japanese ink brush pensand pastels. Her work explores the intricacies of nature, internal conversations with the self, stillness, balance and a sense of timelessness. She has had several group and solo exhibitions, though recently because of her health, she is showing her work more sparingly.
Hifzul Sheikh uses wit and humor to tease out contemporary gender issues through a colourful palette and metamorphic forms. He is a Chattisgarh-based artist known for creating mythical characters that take inspiration from the art that surrounded him in his childhood in Jharkhand. This is known for its rich heritage of folk art and Gond paintings. Kabeer described his works, as having been brought out of his childhood memories and the heritage that he is so attached with. Through his works he wishes to take the spectators to a land of imagination and away from reality for a while.
Bahaar looks into the cosmos and interstellar realms of art with her mixed media canvases. Her work is the coming together of different disciplines and mediums. Her abstracts are made with paper, rubber, resin, cement and sand. She is a self-taught artist who has exhibited alongside some of the great Masters. Together these works explore the picture space, creating visual palpitations of colour and form.
Sangeet Shyamala has many events planned on its roster whether it is the visual or performing arts it brings a focus on both traditional and modern forms of expression. “The vision is to enlighten young creative minds, that are fresh and receptive to an artistic awakening,” says Tewari-Broota. Jalan has presented several stage extravaganzas essayed in Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Contemporary dance styles at Sangeet Shyamala with children, young adult and seasoned exponents in the field. Look out this March for the Vasant International Arts Festival that will feature performances by Rama Vaidyanathan and Durga Arya.
This Exhibition is on till the end of this month.
About: Georgina Maddox

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