Monday, May 6, 2013

War of the Relics, Deepa Jayaraman, Rummana Hussain and More..


Liquidating the Unpleasant and the Asking for the Pleasant

Let’s us begin with a positive note. Though there are not too many transactional activities happening in our organized art market, some interesting shows are still taking place here and there. Towards the end of market boom years, there had been a general feel that Delhi would be the future of art market. But today’s reality shows a different picture altogether. While the galleries in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyederabad regularly announce shows and art related activities, Delhi seems to have nothing much to offer. Even the shows curated by the high end curators came and left without leaving any marks. An art fair which is slated to take place in September this year with some top curators on board, with its two launch shows could not move an inch beyond the paid page three publicity space.

Is Delhi losing out to Mumbai once again? The quality of exhibitions announced by the Mumbai galleries tells us that Mumbai is here to give a tough fight to Delhi. And Delhi even does not care to take it up as a challenge. With galleries closing down and with secondary market activities spreading negative reports, Delhi seems to be already succumbed to a scorching summer. However, in the secondary art market there seem to be some movements in Delhi. Though it has a feel of offloading of works about it, some people are ready to sell and buy the works they had collected during the boom years. Only worrying factor is that many are ready to liquidate the works for whichever available prices. This has obviously affected the market of a few mid career artists so far who have been desperately trying to re-invent themselves during the post-boom years.

The galleries that sell eye soothing works to the ‘non-collector’ class survive both in Mumbai and Delhi. The boom in real estate has enhanced the activities of such galleries. The galleries that are already established as ‘intellectual’ ones find it extremely difficult to do some mix and match experiments and get things moving. This asks for a total change in the organizational activities of the galleries. The numbness and lethargy shown by galleries today would slowly lead into decimation and disappearance. Many gallerists argue that when there is no income how could they promote artists? But the issue is if they do not promote artists how could they target future business at all?

Many gallerists have started asking the artists to do happy paintings. But how can an artist do happy painting in the bleakest times? None asks this question to the artists. Perhaps, the bleakest of works would one day prove the most valuable works both in terms of history and money. That has been the history of art so far. Let us wait for the best. In the meanwhile let the artists express their truest selves.



The Art of Rummana Hussain- Discussion at MPCVA, Mumbai

(Work by Late Rummana Hussain)

The Mohile Parikh Center, Visual Arts Campus, Mumbai, presents a presentation and talk about 'The Art of Rummana Hussain.' The talk is to be held on the 10th of May 2013 at 6: 30pm, at the Goethe Hall , Max Mueller Bhavan.

Independent curator and adjunct professor at the Department of Art and Art History, University of Miami, Florida,  Sasha Altaf, will discuss the work of Rummana Hussain along with Ram Rahman, artist, photographer, designer and activist from India.

The talk and presentation is about the philosophy of Rummana's art, which was politically aware, self referential and extremely provocative. The multi - medium expressions for her progressive, feministic and conceptual art shows how she incorporated, performance with installation, sculpture, film and photography, into one whole complete aura of an artistic language and expression, which was her speciality.

In conjunction with this program, the book 'The SAHMAT collective' co-edited by Jessica Moss and Ram Rahman will also be launched at the event.

Wars of the Relics -  KG Subramanyan’s mural at Sakshi

 (K.G.Subramanyan's Mural, War of the Relics)

Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai will be unveiling a grand mural made by octogenarian artist, K G Sumbramanyan in an exhibition titled, ‘Wars of the Relics’. The exhibition  opens on 9th of May 2013 and will be on view till the 3rd of June 2013.

The size of this mammoth mural is 9 feet  x 36 feet. The artist revisits symbols and relics of the past to annunciate, in his inimitable style, a much experienced dilemma or conflict faced when two or more truths confront each other.

Truth versus false can be an easy choice for anyone, but when confronted with a difficult decision of choice between two or more truths, these complex wars ensue. This is what the artist has tried to depict in his exquisite symbolism and characteristic style, aptly employing stark black and white, monochromatic colours and brush strokes.

Call for Student Art works - ‘Vidyarthi Vishesh 2013’

The Pradarshak Art Gallery, Khar, Mumbai invites applications for its much awaited Annual Students Exhibition, “Vidyarthi Vishesh -2013’. A regular feature of the gallery towards promoting and showcasing art works of young students from their Foundation to MFA years,  the chosen artworks are displayed in the Vidyarthi Vishesh exhibition every year.

This year the dates for the selection is from the 13th June to the 18th June 2013.

The candidates who apply can submit their drawings, graphic prints, portraits, landscapes, compositions and semi abstract works.These works can be framed or unframed for selection and scrutiny.

The levels from which the body of work will be selected are, Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced, Diploma and Degree classes.Students passing out this year are not eligible for this opportunity this year.

Contact Ms Savitha Hira for further details about participation at +91 98204 60587 from Pradarshak Gallery between 11 am to 7 pm.

(Reports by Sushma Sabnis)


Painted, Sensitive and Unafraid-Deepa Jayaraman

Deepa Jayaraman, a Delhi based artist uses graphic styles to depict her works on canvas and paper. Toggling between pencil, ink and acrylics to express her concepts on a substrate of choice, there is a definitive style and youthfulness veiled behind the soulful, sombre looking works, Sushma Sabnis observes:

(Deepa Jayaraman)

Drawing inspirations from feminism, she uses subtle metaphors to display her views in her works. Her two recent works made for the ‘R.A.P.E -  Rare Acts of Political Engagement’ show, curated by Johny M L, depict the deathly silence of a voice raised in revolt. In her work ‘Mirror mirror on the Wall, who is the most painted of all’, she draws monochromatic images in a series of small works, of women, who are caught in various moments of activity and chooses to paint or specifically colour certain portions of the subjects. According to her, the colours make a woman complete and there is no sense of shame about it. This is a proud Indian woman, unafraid of her being seen as ‘coloured’ or ‘painted’ in a very differently applied terminology.

Deepa’s work for the same show titled ‘R for Rape’ is a pencil and ink on paper, articulating the alphabet where the letter ‘R’ stands for ‘Rape’. Each of these small letters have an illustrative quality and depth. Deepa’s earlier works have dealt with women as central figures taken from the great masters’ paintings and depicted in contemporary settings. This series of works have a deep eloquence and grace which exudes in how the artist revers the masters of painting of yesteryears and tries to capture the femininity of the protagonists. The central figures seem to be in poses unaware of the viewer or at the same time, aware of being watched in ways they would prefer to be seen. The other series of works called ‘Black in Mood’ and ‘Nocturnal’, depict the dark side of nature, human nature and human life in urban scenarios explored through beautiful, innocent visuals.  Her works are  inspired by things she has read and experienced, but the narratives depicted continue on, taking the viewer far from their original sources, and making the expression exclusively her own.

 There is a certain bold and quiet sensitivity to her works, which can be attributed to the muted tones and near monochrome visuals, even though they are embedded with multiple meanings and perspectives, making the works highly appealing aesthetically.

Deepa Jayaraman lives and works in New Delhi.

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