Friday, October 11, 2013

Devi Devi, Beyond Borders, Harkat and more..


Devi Devi
(Work at the show)

Art Indus Gallery, New Delhi presents an exhibition by ten women artists during the Navdurga festival in a contemporary context to raise awareness amongst people, and influence their attitudes and mindsets. The show is titled, ‘Devi Devi’.
The objective of the exhibition is to celebrate the power, beauty and glory of nine Goddesses from Indian Mythology. The nine participant artists are Arpana Caur, Seema Kohli, Shipra Bhattacharya, Jayasri Barman, Gogi Saroj Pal, Kanchan Chander, Bulbul Sharma, Kristine Michael, Rini Dhumal, and Vasundhara Tewari Broota.

The show is on till 26th October 2013.

Beyond Borders
(Work by T Vaikuntam)
Experimental Ar Gallery, New Delhi presents a unique group show titled, ‘Beyond Borders’ of a number of artists, from different countries. The works on display are rendered in oil on canvas and water colours by artists from India, Pakistan, Bhutan and more, presented by Drawing Room Art Gallery, Sanam Taseer & Swastika Art Gallery. 

The participating artists are T. Vaikuntam, Suhas Roy, Salman Farooqui, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Imrana Tanveer, Karma, Tahir Ali Sadiq, Ramzan Jafri  and Imran Chanana.

The show is on from 18th October to 21st October 2013.

( Work by Radhika Bawa)
Ravindra Natya Mandir, Mumbai presents a show of three women artists, titled ‘ Prarambh’. A passion for art and a longing to spread their wings as artists led Karishma Wadhwa, Radhika Bawa, Shalu Agarwal to showcase their work.

 The most interesting thing about the exhibition is that each artist has their own muse, an inspiration and a subject that defines them as artists. Karishma for whom spirituality has been a way of life has ‘Buddha’ as her subject. Radhika on the other hand showcases a series of ‘Horses (Ashva)’ as for her the horse is the perfect example of a dichotomy in a nature. As for Shalu, she brings to life a collection of ‘Lotuses’ which represent sensitivity and emotion.

The show is on view till 13th October 2013.

(Performance Artist Inder Salim)
Space 118, Mumbai presents a performance art show by eminent performance artist Inder Salim. The show is titled, ‘Harkat’ and involves the artist learning and unlearning the processes of art formation, which become integral to the work. 

Bending the predictable aesthetics, dismantling them and re forming them is newer perspectives are the forces driving his performance art.

The show is on at 5:00 pm at Space 118, Mumbai on the 15th October 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

Strokes of Divinity
For mural painter Prince Thonnakkal, who is in Chennai to conduct a workshop, the art is his passion.
(Anantha sayana by mural artist Prince Thonnakkal.)
The sun is at its zenith and the stream of pick-up vehicles servicing the noon shift at the IT parks, make a constant drone. But inside ‘Craft Nest’ in Chennai, there is calm. Figures in languid postures, with tranquil eyes lean against startlingly detailed backdrops on sheets of white canvas stretched over the tiled floor. They are being brought alive in colour by eight students bending over their work. A soft spoken man is demonstrating the painting of waves with a brevity of brush work that speaks volumes about his experience. He is Prince Thonnakkal, who teaches the fine art of traditional Kerala mural painting.
In Chennai to conduct the Kerala Mural Workshop, Prince takes time off to speak about his life-long passion. “The speciality of Kerala murals is the profusion of line drawings in the paintings and their distinctive colouring,” he says. Originally found as cave paintings in the ancient Thirunandikkara Cave Temple, murals adorned the walls of more than 150 prominent temples all the way from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the south to Thodeekkalam Siva Temple, Kannur, in the north.
“There were stylistic differences in the way murals were painted in the north and south,” points out Prince. “Primarily because of the depth of involvement in a project, an artist may well spend roughly half his lifetime at a single temple. Since travel was limited, his style was seen only in temples around where he lived and worked.”
Dhyana slokams
( Muralist Prince Thonnakkal)
Notwithstanding stylistic differences, all murals strictly adhere to the Dhyana Slokams of each deity that they represent. These Dhyana Slokams were codified by the famous Namboodiri family of Kanippayyur Mana. These are strictly followed by idol makers and mural painters alike. Within the framework, which would decide the deity’s posture, colour, ornaments and so on, the artists could express their individual styles.
When fire ravaged the Guruvayoor temple in 1970 that destroyed a large part of the temple’s murals, the authorities started looking for an artist to repaint them. Their choice was the famous Mammiyoor Krishnankutty Nair, who is Prince’s teacher. The Guruvayoor Devaswom went on to set up the Institute of Mural Painting and thus was born the first school for murals outside the guru-shishya parampara.
Prince attributes the renewal of this art to the Institute. It brought mural art out of temples and into public places, hotels, corporates and homes.
“Today, more and more people are exposed to the beauty of murals than they were in the past,” says Prince. “There is now a huge private demand for murals, which is a big boost to both the art and the artist. Also leading artists of today frequently network and share ideas about projects they are working on.”
The techniques
(Prince Thonnakkal and his team work on a temple)
“The technique of correctly mixing the paints and gums can only come with experience,” says Prince.
Traditionally, only four colours were used. Not counting white, which was the unpainted area, the other colours were yellow, red, black and green. All colours are derived from organic sources. The preparation of the surface itself took several weeks of plastering and drying (upto 28 times) using a mix of lime and tender coconut water with the final layer being “only as thick as a tamarind leaf!”
One hears tales from bygone ages of mural subjects exerting subtle influences on the artist doing the painting. Prince shares an unforgettable experience: as his personal offering, he painted murals at the Siva Temple near his home, depicting the story of Markandeya, covering over 300 sq.feet. Even on a tight budget, the expenses did put a strain on his finances. The day Prince did the ritualistic “eye opening” ceremony for the painting, someone placed an order for just emailing images of five paintings. By end of the day, the buyer had deposited in his account, roughly the same amount that Prince had spent on the project. “I felt as if Lord Siva Himself was compensating me,” he says with a catch in his voice.
Prince Thonnakkal will be teaching the next Kerala Mural Workshop at Craft Nest, Thuraipakkam between October 26 and 29. For registrations contact 9840544420, 9789971116, 9444191538.
( Report by Jayalakshmi Gopalakrishnan for The Hindu)

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