Art takes on terror (Weekly Art Column, Rainbow Palette, With Images)

March 20th, 2009 - 4:57 pm ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Terror is a reality of our times, whose echoes can be felt across the country. Now leading artists and top galleries from Kolkata have joined hands for a mega exhibition, “Art Against Terrorism”.

The exhibition will begin March 23 at the Aakriti Art Gallery in Kolkata, said Vikram Bachhawat, director of the gallery.

The exhibition is part of a series against terror, which, he said, had become a “crusade for the artists’ fraternity in Kolkata”.

The artists include veterans like Kartick Chandra Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, Rabin Mandal, Partha Pratim Deb, Sunil De and Habibur Rahman.

“The act of terrorism is completely a representation of cowardice. Terrorism cannot be supported, be it from a fundamentalist groups or in any other type of act of violence that brings about a dissonance and dissolution to our basic existence,” Bachhawat said in a media brief.

This is why artists have come forward to lend their voice against forces of terrorism through their work of art, he added.

The art works will include canvases, sculptures and installations.


Generation Next

An exhibition, “Gen Next”, at the Open Palm Court at the India Habitat Centre in the capital, presented fresh and original art works by newcomers.

Presented by Ragini Arts, the exhibition stood out for its diverse interpretations of common themes by artists. The artists, mostly new finds, were from different parts of the country, each characterised by their concerns and typical socio-economic and cultural milieus.

The art works were mostly figurative and colourful, painted in acrylic on canvas.

“Younger artists are often brushed aside by senior artists, who say oil is a better medium. But their new concepts and the techniques touch me. These artists may not able to hit big prices, but they are worth taking a look and appreciating,” Nidhi Jain of Ragini Arts told IANS.

Jain’s “prize find” for the show has been Amit Slathia, an artist from Jammu. “After completing his Master of Fine Arts from Jaipur, he was struggling in a cramped studio in Garhi artists’ village (in south Delhi), sometimes without money for food. But his figure studies were brilliant. He is definitely the catch of the season,” Jain said.

Slathia’s untitled studies of a “young man in motion” - an eight-part series on paper and the installation of a bust with scarf around its neck made of plastic bottle caps (from Coke, Pepsi and Limca bottles) were the high points of the show that closed March 18.


Husain’s Gandhi painting fetches $152,000

The sale of South Asian contemporary art in New York Friday morning reasserted the supremacy of the Indian masters once again in the international market. Maqbool Fida Husain’s Gandhi - Man of Peace topped the sale raking in $152,000.

“This morning’s sale of South Asian Modern and contemporary art was led by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s superb Untitled, 1965, which achieved $482,500. We were also pleased to see further strong results for Maqbool Fida Husain’s Gandhi- Man of Peace at $152,000 and Rameshwar Broota’s Face at $80,500,” Hugo Weihe, head of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, said from New York in a statement.

He said buyers continued to be selective and focussed on quality with solid results for mid-level price ranges. “The sale was well attended by international bidders in the room, on the phone and on Christie’s Live,” Weihe said.

Menaka Kumari Shah, Christie’s India representative, said the sale reinforced the strength of Indian modern masters. “We witnessed more disciplined buying with a focus on quality proving there is still liquidity in the market and confidence in this collecting category.”

Some of the other important works on sale included an untitled canvas by Subodh Gupta and Transplantation by Rameshwar Broota.

The auction fetched $ 2,412,000. Christie’s officials said of the 72 lots offered, 45 were sold.

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