Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Celebration of Lines, Formative to Recent and more..


A Celebration of Lines
(Work by artist Krishen Khanna)
Sakshi Art Gallery presents a solo show of renowned artist Krishen Khanna. The show titled, ‘A Celebration of Lines’ displays a range of the artists monochrome drawings and canvases. 

Krishen Khanna’s figurative and evocative works address the social, political and historical contexts through a strong portrayal of people and stories about them, for instance scenes of pre-partition India. Bringing out personal conenctions with the people portrayed, such as the Indian revolutionaries in his neighbourhood, Khanna  builds a picture not just as an illustration of a memory, but as a historical entity. The narratives are vast and deep, full of nuances, iconic and subtle all at once. The artist tries to evoke the emotive strength through his lines and pencil strokes effectively creating in the viewer and the work an interaction and an anchoring. The exhibition also will have a reproduction of the artist’s monumental mural, ‘Chola Migrations’. This mammoth work stands at 72.5 ft and depicts the rich life and cultural history of the Cholas of South and is regarded as one of the largest murals in pencil on paper.

The show previews on 6th March and is on view till 5th April 2014.


Five Forty Five Gallery, Bangalore presents a solo show of art works by artist Pradeep Kumar DM. The show is sponsored by the Department of Kannada and Culture. The show titled ‘Daydreams’ displays the vibrant and illustrative art works by the artist.

Pradeep is a Karnataka based artist and he graduated from the University College of Fine Arts, Davangere with a B.V.A Degree in painting. He also has an M.V.A Degree in Painting from Bangalore University.

The show is on view from 7th March to 4th April 2014.

Formative to Recent 
(Work by artist Jogen Chowdhury)
Cima Art Gallery, Kolkata is hosting the complete works of eminent artist Jogen Chowdhury. The exhibition is titled, ‘Formative to Recent’ and attempts to retrace the journey taken by the artist in his art practices and through different times and influences, which unfold in the range of art works.
On display are multi medium works, from paintings to film posters, drawings, etchings and lithographs, though having been displayed before in other venues, this show acts almost as a retrospective of the artists work.

The show is on till 29th March 2014.

Tangential Traverse

Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata presents a group show of artists, titled, ‘Tangential Traverse’. The show will display the paintings and sculptures of eminent contemporary artists along with yesteryear legendary artists works.

The participating artists are  Ajit Chakraborty, B.R.Panesar, Badhan Das, Bijon Chowdhury, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Dharamnarayan Dasgupta, Ganesh Pyne, Gobardhan Ash, Gopal Ghose, Indra Dugar, Jamini Roy, Meera Mukherjee, Nandalal Bose, Paritosh Sen, Sarbari Roychowdhury, Somnath Hore and Sudir Kastagir.

The show previews on 7th March 2014 and is n view till 31st March 2014.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)


The Renaissance Man: CSMVS Director Sabyasachi Mukherjee
(Director of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Sabyasachi Mukherjee)
By now Sabyasachi Mukherjee is used to being asked if he’s the famous designer. After giving a talk at Sophia College some months ago, Mukherjee was accosted by two girls. “One girl asked, ‘You are the designer?’” Mukherjee says. “I said, ‘Do I look like a designer?’” Indeed Mukherjee, who is the director of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum), could not look less like a fashion icon. With his crumpled sky blue shirt, bristly moustache and nerdy enchantment of antiquities – he endearingly pointed out his favourite stone Shiva gana in the museum’s sculpture section – Mukherjee is more professor material.
Mukherjee, 49, is too self-effacing to admit it but the CSMVS entered a renaissance soon after he became its director in 2007. Suddenly there seemed to be regular activity at the CSMVS most notably in the form of a string of shows brought from museums abroad such as the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert. Over the years, it has shown exhibits of Chinese terracotta warriors, and the mummy of Egyptian temple priest Nesperennub; made room for the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, a gallery of contemporary Indian art; and hosted displays of Persian antiques and Flemish paintings. Before 2007, Mumbaikars could not have imagined a Rubens coming to the museum, which was widely regarded as a fusty place that school kids paid a mandatory visit chiefly to see the stuffed animals and forget thereafter. As Mukherjee puts it, “Nowhere was the enjoyment element visible”.
This state of affairs was tragic as the museum has a spectacular collection of over 60,000 artefacts with gems like the Anvar-i-Suhayli, a 16th century Persian translation of the Panchatantra; Akbar’s personal armour; and some gorgeous miniature paintings. “There was no concept of the modern museum,” he says. “No concept of curated shows, interpretation, educational programmes, the museum as a space for social debate. American, European and some Asian museums were way ahead of us. In the 1990s they were talking about the global museum. We remained in the early 20th century.” Then the wave of globalisation, which dramatically altered our economy and popular culture, finally swept the shores of high culture. “Now foreign museum directors are visiting Indian museums,” Mukherjee says. “But we’ve lost many years.”
As a young adult, Mukherjee never imagined he’d end up spearheading a major Indian museum; he grew up in Bolpur, a small town in West Bengal that’s known for its proximity to Shantiniketan (it’s what Shirdi is to the Sai Baba temple, Mukherjee says). Thanks to Shantiniketan’s Vishwa Bharati, the university Tagore founded, the atmosphere there carries the charge of a deep artistic tradition. Mukherjee grew up in a family of teachers to be a lover of poetry. But it was chance and some youthful vacillation that led him to a career in the arts. He intended to do a Master’s in social work at MS University in Baroda, an institution renowned for turning out some of the best artists in the country. But when a cousin studying there urged him to get a degree in an artistic field, Mukherjee did an MA in ancient Indian history and archaeology and a second one in museology.
While studying museology, Mukherjee worked as an intern at the CSMVS in 1989 under Sadashiv Gorakhshkar, who was director from 1975 to 1996. Mukherjee described Gorakhshkar as his greatest mentor. “He had the spark to continue to work for the Prince of Wales museum,” Gorakhshkhar said in a phone interview from Vasind, where he now lives. “It was an outgoing museum – we had a lot of extracurricular activities and I thought he fitted into the brief. While leaving, I told him never to leave. I said no other museum offers what the Prince of Wales does.” Mukherjee took his mentor’s advice. He joined as a research associate in 1990 and has been at the museum since then.
One of Mukherjee’s obvious talents is fund raising. The museum functions autonomously and while it does get some money from the central government, it’s largely supported by individual patrons and corporate companies. Their largesse has paid for the classy plaza near the entrance designed by Rahul Mehrotra, for restoration projects and foreign shows and new galleries. Mumbaikars can look forward to two new galleries this year – one showcasing the city’s textile history and the other a gallery of prints and drawings that gallerist Pheroza Godrej and writer Pauline Rohatgi are giving the museum on a long-term loan. “Money comes with great ideas,” Mukherjee says.
Perhaps the real beneficiaries of Mukherjee’s vision and that of his splendid colleagues are the city’s kids. It’s common to see groups of school children being shepherded around a show and briefed by the museum’s education officer Bilwa Kulkarni. Some of these kids are exposed to art for the first time – they include the offspring of sex workers, construction labourers and BMC sweepers and are taken to the museum on field trips organised by CSMVS and various NGOs. “Our approach is to enlighten those who are not enlightened,” Mukherjee says. “A museum brings changes to human life. You come to interact with your past to understand the present and the future.”

(Report by Pronoti Datta for Mumbai Boss)

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