Sakshi Gallery is proud to present ‘A Celebration of Lines,’ an exhibition of monochrome drawings and canvases by octogenarian master KrishenKhanna. The show, which previews on March 6, will run through April 5, 2014.
Khanna’s figurative works evoke social, historical and political contexts through their poignant portrayal of people and scenes from pre-partition India. They are often rooted in specific situations depicting, for instance, the arrest of Dr. GurbakshRai, a politically vigilant physician from the artist’s neighborhood or "bird-watching," a surveillance tactic used by Indian revolutionaries to determine their next British target. Despite their obvious specificity, Khanna’s works vividly conjure an era, revealing its socio-political nuances, while also delving into the dynamics of relationships, making them truly iconic.
Khanna's black and white drawings offer riveting glimpses of families crossing the border and strong portraits of common folk and British officers. In their quiet rendering, they illustrate the emotive strength and timelessness of pencil strokes. Khanna said, “To this day it makes me wonder how a small lead point peeping out of a pencil can yield so much. It is a most obedient tool and takes it commands with rapidity and accuracy from the mind initiating the action. It is probably the most resilient of all mediums. It becomes an extension of the fingers which hold it.”
The exhibition will also include a reproduction of Khanna’s monumental mural, Chola Migrations. Spread over 72.5 running feet, the work revisits the rich life, culture and history of the Cholas of Southern India and is regarded as one of the largest murals in pencil on paper.
KrishenKhanna was born in Faisalabad in 1925 and while growing up in Lahore, attended evening classes at the Mayo College of Art. In 1947, he left Pakistan with his family and moved to Shimla. Eventually, his job at Grindlays Bank brought him to Mumbai where invited to be a part of the Progressive Artists’ Group. By 1961, he quit his job and became a full-time artist.
Over the course of six decade career, Khanna’s work has been included in several biennales including Venice, São Paulo, Havana and Tokyo, as well as in the International Triennale in New Delhi. He has exhibited in solo and group shows the world over, showing at New York, London, Honolulu, Oxford, Washington and Geneva, amongst others places. In 2011, Khanna was awarded Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India. He lives and works in Gurgaon.