Indian life has its roots in Indian villages and it is in villages that real India lives. Today when the region is growing into a major economic force and Indian cities are attracting people from all over the world, Indian rural life continues to dominate the Indian psyche. In an amazing collection of eleven emerging artists of India, this exhibition gives one the glimpses of that vast, illusive India that shows its traces everywhere: at great metropolitan centres, at smaller satellite townships, at district head quarters and finally at villages and hoblis.
Jyoti Hattarki’s stylized figures of rural folk complete with male and female accessories, gives one the flavor of the serenity of India’s vast and diverse countryside. It is this India whose traces can also be seen in the lives of those who live in India’s great urban centres. Shantkumar’s portraits of musicians, string players, and drummers who traverse the rural-urban divide regularly to perform for a living show this tension in subtle and yet forceful ways.
On the other end of the spectrum are paintings of Sumita Acharya that deal with the changes in life styles of urban Indians obsessed with brand loyalty and share markets and the paintings of Sunitha Subramaniyam that deal with the loneliness that engulf the urban Indian. She makes use of mannequins and masks as props and together with Sumita present a contemporary style.
There are two abstractionists also in the group Raushanallah Y and Sadhana, presenting works which are very cerebral and intense in rendering. Their works are at once contemporary and international as they are Indian and philosophical.
Pritam Priyalochan’s semi-abstract works make use of Indian icons, cattle and domestic foul to demonstrate Indian ethos in its myriad manifestations.
Indian ethos enters into Indian life not just through rural moorings but also through another important force: religion. Mangesh Kale’s demonic figures, bearing symbols of Hindu iconography and Harish Kumar’s portrayal of Indian legends of Krishna and Buddha and finally Paramesh Paul’s paintings of Benares Ghats where Hindus finally go to confront death completes the cycle of Indian life.
Together the paintings of these eleven emerging names in Indian art give one the glimpses of India at the crossroads of modernity and tradition.