Thursday, May 23, 2013



Woven Canvases: VANITA YAJI

Vanita Yaji’s paintings are unique in the sense that they refuse to remain flat on paper or canvas. Although Vanita is a student of the Painting department in Kala Bhavana, her tendency is to find form and colour in a three-dimensional space, says young art writer Siddharth Sivakumar

(Vanita Yaji)

Vanita Yaji’s paintings are unique in the sense that they refuse to remain flat on paper or canvas. Although Vanita is a student of the Painting department in Kala Bhavana, her tendency is to find form and colour in a three-dimensional space. She particularly enjoys working with cloths as she cuts, ties, knits and disperses them to form her work. Vanita uses colourful, textured textiles to fabricate her narrative. Her works such as Palettes, Butti, and Golden Canvas are some intriguing works of art that fit-in within a symbolic framework.      

 Her “paintings” are symbolic as they represent ideas and concepts that convey meaning other than the apparent one. Ideas presented through a symbolic or allegorical narrative are at times “abstract” in nature. Ancient myths, literature in particular, has a long history of embodying abstract ideas. For instance, in the fifteenth century morality play, Everyman the characters are the personification of Death, Knowledge, Fellowship, Strength and similar ideas. In visual arts, we have come across artists such as K. S Radhakrishnan in whose works abstract ideas have taken figurative presence, but we seldom encounter such ideas manifested as objects, contrasting the usual figurative rendering. Vanita Yaji departs from the established norms and presents abstract allegories through objects.

Vanita’s Palettes are painted with the ideas of unity, diversity and a certain kind of identity, which are inimitable to our nationhood. India’s layers of cultures, it’s medley of colours, rituals and religion, landscapes and languages are so varied that it is hard to represent them. But in Vaniita’s palettes of different shapes and sizes, circumscribed are the multi-coloured bits and pieces of cloths drawn from different ethnicity, geography and cultural traditions. The great diversity of weaves, fibres, colours and material of clothing is crafted into a topography that creates the illusion of a vibrant India. And when India is served in the palettes, we look at it from a bird’s eye perspective. Peeping down from the window of an aircraft, we appreciate the cohesion of fields, mountains and rivers. Similarly in her palettes the image of India evolves as a unit, the borders of a palette and the regional borders dissolve, and fragments are knit together with colours.  

 In the  countryside of Karnataka, agricultural workers carry their meals wrapped in pieces of cloths, which is locally known as “Butti”. In her work of the same name, Vanita once again uses cloths to foreground a specific tradition from her native land. The little bundles that are heaped on the bare ground are symbolic of the hardworking men who are perhaps occupied in a field nearby. 

Vanita Yaji states in her Blog, “Many people migrate from villages for many reasons, and for some it is a ‘necessity’. Maybe everyone who leaves for a new place carry new hopes and colourful dreams with them”. And she does a series based on this idea. The work stems from Vanita’s own experience of moving from a buzzing city to the secluded Santiniketan. In the tiny bags she carries with her the hopes of a brighter future.  Set against Ramkinkar’s iconic ‘Santhal family’, the image becomes meaningful, a balancing act between “necessity” and expectations.

Vanita’s Golden Canvas presents the acquisitive nature of the modern world. This acquisitiveness is the glowing golden colour that has spread across the canvas. Men and women from different strata of life are clinging and climbing the canvas. Their desperate efforts to reach the pinnacle, quite literally brings to life the real picture where the stuffed-puppets symbolise human puppets, whose strings are pulled by a rapacious value system. In her works, Vanita expresses her contempt for the social-fabric that reduces the human entity to dangling bodies, puppets pulled by strings.

Although Vanita usually addresses big issues with tiny figures and small objects, occasionally she also enjoys working on a large scale.


Essence of S H Raza

Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh will be screening a film on the life of eminent artist, S H Raza. The film titled, ‘S H Raza- The Very Essence’ is directed by Laurent Bregeat. The film will be screened on the 26th of May 2013 at 11:30 am, at the Auditorium, Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh.The film is produced by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

Artist S H Raza needs no introduction in the art world. Born in Madhya Pradesh, Raza was educated in art at the Nagpur School of Art, and later on at Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai, before moving to France ot study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris.

He is a recipient of the Padma Shri award conferred on him by the President of  India in 1981.

The main thematic oeuvre Raza is known for all over the world is his ‘Bindu’ series. The Bindu, a symbol of a starting point or a seed, a beginning of everything, a point or source of energy. He added various dimensions to this series and one could see the Bindu develop into geometrical forms like triangles symbolizing the male and female energies.

S H Raza lives and works in New Delhi.

Maity’s Faces of Life

Bangalore based Gallery Sumukha, hosts a solo show of paintings, and installations works of eminent contemporary artist Paresh Maity. The show is being held at the Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and will be on view till the 25th of May 2013.

Kolkata born Paresh Maity, is known all over the world for his paintings, sculptures, photography and installations works which are hugely influenced by his vast travel and journeys across the globe. His inspirations come from such travel experiences and he incorporates them in his artistic expressions with a flair and vibrancy of figuration and style, unique and exclusively his own.

In his current solo show at the Visual Arts Centre, HongKong, Paresh displays works with an undertone of semi-abstract figuration, in a series called ‘Faces of Life’, which are portraits of Indian faces in colourful and emotional scenarios.

He has had an array of solo and group exhibitions all over the world and he comes across as a global artist. He lives and works in New Delhi.

Demolition Man -  Bijoy Jain

Chemould Prescott gallery,  Mumbai presents a new series of installations by Studio Mumbai and Bijoy Jain as a part of its interest in observing the relationship of art and architecture.

The show is titled, ‘Demolition Series’ and focuses on the instinctive and spontaneous response to something without the burden and references of culture or conditionings.

The aim is to present an everyday environment replete with sensory and elemental stimulants and the responses to each of those situations. The installations are specifically created and designed by Studio Mumbai, founded by Bijoy Jain, to evoke a certain indeterminate and sudden reaction through the viewers of the works.

At Studio Mumbai the projects are developed taking into consideration the place and a practice that derives from traditional skills, local building materials and techniques, sometimes from limited resources etc, are used.

The show is on view from the 31st of May 2013 to the 10th of August 2013.

A Sacred Passion

Art Spice Gallery, New Delhi, presents a solo show of works by calligraphy artist, Parameshwar Raju, titled ‘ Sacred Is the Passion of The Sacred Integrity’.

The show displays calligraphy works by the artist in praise of the Lord Shiva. Parameshwar has been mesmerised by the deity and the new works of calligraphic art depict the god in various mythological scenarios from various scriptures.

Parmeshwar is known for the calligraphic finesse in his art. He uses inks, and specially imported nibs on paper and canvas to bring to life his favourite deities, like Krishna,Venkateshwara, Shiva, Surya, Vinayaka among others. Also in this show one can view his wide range of exclusively illustrated series of stories and epics which he have been taken from Ramayana, Mahabharata, stories from Jagannath temple of Puri, etc.

What one views is the artist’s devotion and innovative style of calligraphy and the spirituality each of the works exude. His calligraphy works are his way of being a part of the divinity he depicts in his works.

The show is on view till the 10th of June 2013.

(News Reports by SUSHMA SABNIS)

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