Cities change, art reflects, artists experiment (Rainbow Palette: Weekly Art Column - With Images)

December 26th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) India’s green acres are now concrete jungles. Rapid urbanisation has changed cityscapes and skylines, most of which have morphed beyond recognition.An art exhibition in the capital, “Nature and the City”, has tried to open a dialogue between the country’s growing environmental concerns, its people and fast-track urbanisation through multi-discipline art like hand-drawn urban cartographic maps, installations, photographs and traditional canvases.

All of them share a thread - the city and its new progressions, be it linear, horizontal or psychological.

The exhibition at the Religare Arts-I gallery opened Dec 16 and will close Jan 15.

The participants are diverse. They include eminent photographers like Ram Rahman, Gauri Gill, Ravi Agarwal, cutting-edge artists like Sheba Chachi and Sumakshi Singh.

Besides, voices of urban theorists, architects and documentary filmmakers like Gautam Bhatia and Pradip Kishen add layers to the theme.

For instance, a clothesline strung with pictures of visitors and their reaction to the “New Delhi” in doodles and slogans as a city of change was riveting. “I thought it was important to get a perspective on what was happening in south Asia,” co-curator Nitin Mukul told IANS.

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Curtains down on capital’s arts carnival

The Delhi International Arts Festival, one of the biggest cultural carnivals on the capital’s winter calendar drew to a close Dec 24.

The three-week festival featured 3,500 artists from across 30 countries, spread across nearly 90 venues in Delhi and the rest of the National Capital Region.

Arshiya Sethi, executive director of the festival, said apart from hosting cultures from across the world, it served as a diplomatic bridge between India and its Islamic neighbours.

“The Baul-Sufi musicians from Bangladesh and the Pakistani ghazal night proved that terror was not a deterrent to cultural exchange. Everyone doubted whether we could host the ghazal musicians from Pakistan given that the situation in Mumbai was so tense,” Sethi told IANS.

The range was breathtaking. Gulzar, Kunwar Narayan, Sarnath Banerjee, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Sooni Taraporewala in films; D.W.Gibson (Britain), Triztan Vindom (Norway), Amir Ore (Israel) and 28 other poets from different countries as diverse as Botswana, Guyana, China the US; Anup Jalota and other singers; great dancers, musicians, folk artists, fusion bands, funky fringe and international dancers and musicians - it’s almost like a cultural Mardi Gras.

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Shiva and Shakti: Art meets sculpture

There is monotony in the air. Senior artists are facing a medium fatigue - en masse - and are now experimenting with solid art. Almost all big names in the art world like Satish Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Laxma Gaud and K.S. Radhakrishnan are sculpting with seriousness - kind of adding value to their canvases.

An exhibition “Picto-Real Space” by Gallery Ganesha that ended Dec 20 at the India Habitat Centre showed that sculptures and canvas make a stronger statement together.

Artist Satish Gupta’s canvases of Shakti and his sculptures of Shiva stood out for their balance of energies - the yin and the yang - and aesthetics.

K.S. Radhakrishan’s lotus girls - a group of winsome women dancing on lotus leaves in a pool (in bronze) complemented by photographs of the bronze dancing figures - were striking in their interplay of mediums.

“All great artists have experimented with both sculptures and paintings like Rodin, Edgar Degas and Michaelangelo. I like to do everything. There is more spontaneity in culture,” artist Sakti Burman told IANS.

Paresh Maity, however, attributed the switch to sculpture as the zest to try out something new. “If you are an artist, you can do everything. Moreover, a painted canvas has serious limitation because it is one-dimensional,” Maity told IANS.

Gallery owner Shobha Bhatia is working to bring the forms - art and sculpture - together. “Almost all leading artists want to experiment with two and three dimensional forms together,” Bhatia said.

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