Colours, only

14 Sep

Thanks Ankush!

art1st India

A new exhibition in Delhi introduces the rare genre of ‘colour field’ painting to art lovers

Ankush Arora

How does an artist’s canvas reflect natural landscapes, without using any kind of recognisable shapes, images, forms or human figures? A good example of this style of art-making is the work of Pandit Bhila Khairnar, who is known as a ‘colour field’ artist. Delhi-based Gallery Threshold recently inaugurated a solo show of the artist, who hails from Nashik city in Maharashtra.

Nashik_Flickr_Deeku's.jpg Nashik. Courtesy: Flickr

As a young man, Khairnar found himself drawn towards abstract painting, and began his training in art at Yashwant Kala Mahavidyalaya, Aurangabad, and L. S. Raheja School of Art, Mumbai. His early interest in abstract painting deeply influenced his artistic vocabulary that we see today, so much so that he is now considered one of the lesser known, but foremost, colour field painters of India.

Pandit Bhila Khairnar Profile Photo.png Pandit Bhila Khairnar…

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Second Generation concerns

3 May


Ganesh Pyne

Ganesh Pyne, Apu, Tempera on canvas, 18 x 15.5 inches, 2008



Ella Tito

In India when people say Modern Art, it is often to earmark the artistic production of the Progressive Artist’s Group (PAG) read, F N Souza, S H Raza, M F Husain, S Bakre, K H Ara,  K H Gade, Amrita Sher-Gil, Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar and others like Krishen Khanna and  Jehangir Sabavala to name a few. There is a subsequent generation of Moderns, who play an as important role in shaping the journey of Modern Art in India. These are known as the second generation of Modern Masters.

Surrendra Paul Art Gallery at Sangeet Shyamala and Vadehra Art Gallery, present The Modern Masters of Indian Art II, an exhibition that opened on the 27th of April and is on till the 11th of May, that highlights and features the second generation of Moderns like Arpita Singh, Anjolie Ela Menon, A. Ramachandran, Chameli Ramachandran, Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, Paramjit Singh and Rameshwar Broota.


Arpita Singh LR.jpg

Arpita Singh, Our Earth, Watercolour on paper, 23 x 30 inches, 2012


This group of Moderns displays a different set of concerns and a shift in stylistic approach, moving towards a more localized and personal idiom. Their lexicon is woven out of stylistic progressions made post the 1980s and the 1990s which connected to Independent India opening globally but telling its own stories in a local tongue.

The story of Partition of East Pakistan, the horrors of the Naxalite movement, of economic deprivation, of gender inequality and of the struggle of traditional arts to make the transition to the lexicon of the Modern are some of their concerns. Artists like Arpita Singh, Pyne and Chowdhury focused on the initial turmoil of India’s Partition from Bangladesh, the Naxalite movement and an ensuing of unrest, which inspires many of their works. In the latter half of her oeuvre, Singh focuses on the rapid urbanization of cosmopolitan India. The anomaly between the aging body and the residue of desire, between the ordinary and the divine and the threat of the violent fluxes of the impinging external world gives her work its piquancy and edge.

Pyne draws his inspiration from the city of his birth, Kolkata with its decaying mansions and Naxalite movement. In the summer of 1946, when communal riots had rocked Kolkata Pyne had his first brush with death. He and his family were forced to abandon their crumbling mansion and he came upon a pile of bodies in the street. It is that dark vision that continued to haunt Pyne and he continues to return to that as his source. He was also inspired by mythological stories, and fairy tales told by his grandmother and the political environs of Calcutta in its coffee houses. His works have a dark brooding quality, with a touch of the surreal.



Ganesh Pyne, The Head, Tempera on canvas, 13.5 x 17.5 inches, 2008


Jogen Chowdhury is known for his ability to successfully bring together traditional imagery with the zeitgeist of contemporary painting. His skillful blend of an urbane self-awareness and a highly localized Bengali influence makes him an internationally accessible name.


Other artists like A. Ramachandran and Chameli Ramachandran have chosen to focus on nature in a manner that references the tradition of the miniatures and Japanese wash technique, while Paramjit Singh evokes bucolic landscapes in a Modernist manner. Menon weaves a personal narrative of the feminine experience in everyday life. Each artist has made an important contribution to Modern Indian Art and this exhibition strives to tease out the themes and stylistic approaches of these artists.



A Ramachandran uses archetypal Indian imagery only after years of painting in the modernist vein. In most of his works, the decorative element does not stand out; it is intrinsic, built into his figures’ clothes and jewelry as a part of the overall design, while Paramjit Singh’s brush charts a course on the canvas that gives the viewer panoramic visions of mystic landscapes.


Rameshwar Broota’s mixed media has been sourced from his latest body of work that was part of his solo exhibition titled Scripted in Time at Vadehra Art Gallery in the month of March. The works are created out of epoxy resin and have the effect of a floating world, a microcosm where various objects and forms that have been trapped in its sticky surface, where they lead an afterlife suspended in time. The objects vary, from metallic nails, an X-ray of the lungs, stray feathers to the all-important bits of text upon which the inspiration of the exhibition hinges. One may note that the suspended objects, when treated to the resin, gain a kind of mysterious air to them. It changes their meaning adding another layer that goes beyond their visual play and glowing surface. Resin mummifies and when we consider the choice of Broota’s objects, one cannot miss that they hint towards a critique of violence.

It is wonderful to have access to such fine work by this ‘second generation’ of Masters, at an institute like Sangeet Shyamala where kids visit regularly for their music, dance, and art classes. It gives them exposure and inspiration.


Talent in the bud

13 Apr
Always musically inclined, Yashasvini took her first steps into the world of music at the tender age of five, when she began her formal training in Carnatic Music under Smt. Lalitha Nagarajan. Since the last five years, she has been under the tutelage of Sushree Sriparna Nandi in  Hindustani Classical Music.
Over the years, she has been consistently performing in various musical programmes and has won several accolades. She is also pursuing a diploma in music from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. Now aged 15 years, this is her first formal public performance in Hindustani Classical Music followed by a few songs in the Semi-Classical style. Catch her performing at the Habitat as she reaches yet another milestone in her musical journey.
At the Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, April 13th, 7 p.m. onwards.

Manahsthiti in Mumbai

11 Apr

Manahsthiti is an ongoing series of works by artist Shubhra Chaturvedi, a full-time artist and photographer.

It is a journey that began in Delhi at the India Habitat Center which has travelled to Mumbai with selected works from the collection and a preview of some works from the new series. “I am a storyteller; when I am in front of my canvas, or behind my lens, I sense stories ready to pour out through my brush or my camera. With every work, I see a new light and try to bring it out in different forms, textures and colours. I have been inspired by the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaugin and Picasso,” says Chaturvedi.


“Shubhra Chaturvedi is an artist from Delhi. She has had an exciting tryst with colour and canvas over the past several years. Into her 5th solo show, she now brings to Mumbai her ongoing series, “Manahsthiti”. Shubhra has shown versatility in terms of style and direction, thus carving a special niche for herself in the art world,” says art writer Robinson.


The collection is a reflection on the events and situations of the times, their impact on the society at large, and the artist’s mind in particular. The manifestation of an artist’s inner churnings and the turmoil within the society, the show also delves into man-woman relationships in this context—the emotional cycles they experience individually and together, juxtaposed with the realities of the society. These moments of truth and empirical experiences one encounters each day go on to describe the Manahsthiti or the state of mind of the artist.



The exhibition is on until the 16th of April 2018, at Nehru Centre, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai. Gallery timings 11 am – 7 pm.
Check out the curtain raiser for the series here


Celebrating Small Fortmat Art and women saints

19 Mar

By Ella Tito

With March heralding the short and pleasant month of spring, it was an evening of art music and dance at Sangeet Shyamala. The Fine Arts Institute in leafy Vasant Vihar, opened its doors to the exhibition Celebrating Small Format at the Surrendra Paul Art Gallery and launched an evening of music and dance featuring Sant Vani: Women Saints of India. The latter showcased exhilarating dances by Shreyasi Gopinath who rendered the longing of Andal through a Bharatanatyam performance as while Shipra Joshi danced as Meera Bai to a packed audience at Som Manch.


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Shreyasi Gopinath beautifully rendered the longing of Andal through a Bharatanatyam performance


The evening was dedicated to the stories of Meera Bai and Anadal, both Bhakti era poets who belonged to the movement that eschewed various social norms to follow a spiritual path. Meera belonged to North India and Andal was from the South. They were both unique and distinct voices in the Bhakti movement since they were women, who loved the dark-hued lord and sang in the idiom of bridal mysticism. The ballad is depicted in Kathak and Bharatanatyam. Meera and Andal were revolutionary women saints of India both became famous for their courage and devotion to Lord Krishna. The concept and dances were curated by Usha R.K




Meera Bai

Shipra Joshi danced as Meera Bai to a packed audience at Som Manch.



Meanwhile, at the Surrendra Paul Art Gallery, an expanded version of the Small Format exhibition that was showcased at the Imagine Fest, featured Artwork and Prints by leading artists. The exhibition has been curated with an emphasis on making art accessible and appealing to the common person. The small format work explores the symbolic, conceptual, aesthetic, economic and strategic dimensions of small format art. The exhibition curated by the gallery team, featured Giclée prints by Rameshwar Broota, Vasundhara Tewari Broota, drawings by Marie Dias Arora and paintings by Satish Sharma, Meena Deora, Shruti Gupta Chandra, Birendra Pani, Murali Cheeroth, Pratul Dash, Surinder Kaur, Vikram Nayak, Sheikh Hifzul, Alka Jhamb and Shubhra Chaturvedi Mekhala Bahl, Ravi Kumar Kashi, Rajesh Sharma, Valentina Churilova, Ritu Mehra, Chetnaa, ceramic work by Manju Tomar, mixed media by Anjoo Kaushik, who incidentally is among the top five in the Best College art awards.


Present at the opening were actor Moon Moon Sen, who was one of the first visitors, Manjari Sinha the dance and music scholar, Kathak dancer and Guru Prerna Srimali, Leela Venketraman, Ravindra Mishra, Dancers like, Rani Khanam, Jamuna Krishna, artists Rameshwar Broota, Vasundhara Tewari Broota, Marie Dias Arora, Mekhala Behl, Meena Deora, Shruti Gupta Chandra, Ritu Mehra, Valentina Churilova, Shubhra Chaturvedi and Rajesh Kumar Sharma among others.



The exhibition continues till April 17th 2019 at Sangeet Shyamala’s Surrendra Paul Art Gallery, Streets A12 and A11, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi



Home and Other Places

20 Feb

Georgina Maddox


Diaspora is no longer a word that describes the Indian overseas. This is because the longing for home has been replaced by the of notion global citizen while the very idea of space itself extends beyond the physicality of maps and borders. In the flat world, one is able to shrink distances by Face Timing with relatives and ‘home’ is just a plane ride away. The new word, as we are told by curator Dr. Arshiya Mansoor Lokhandwala, is “Transnationalism”. The exhibition, titled “Beyond Transnationalism: Legacies of Post-Independence South Asian Art”, opened at the AIFACS Gallery, hosted by the Raza Foundation New Delhi. It opened on February 10th as a collateral to the India Art Fair.


As an important marker of the 70-years of India and Pakistan’s independence, the exhibition showcases artists from both nations currently born and living in the United States and of South Asian descent. The show begins with early migrants like Zarina Hashmi, Krishna Reddy and Amina Ahmed. It moves on to artists like video and performance artist Priyanka Dasgupta, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew who works with found images and photography and Bari Kumar who uses traditional and popular culture to create his art. The youngest generation of transnationals is represented by the works of artists like Chitra Ganesh, Hamra Abbas, Jaishri Abichandani, Jaret Vadera, Ranu Mukherjee, Shaurya Kumar, Shelly Bahl, Shreshta Premnath and Vandana Jain.

It showcases a beautiful selection of Hashmi’s woodcuts carved out of a longing for the notion of home from aerial maps of her homeland that she memorized while learning to fly. Hashmi was one of the few women to fly a plane in the early 1960s. Krishna Reddy’s etchings are organic and represent the lushness of the Indian subcontinent, without being illustrative. Amina Ahmed’s drawings on carbon paper are a result of her ‘India sketchbook’. “I was encouraged to share these carbon drawings of Tattoos and body markings that I noticed on the Rabari women whilst travelling through India. They are very interesting markers of identity for me and by transposing them onto carbon paper I make them my own,” she says.

“The works in this exhibition assert new and complex aesthetic and geopolitical propositions that question, complicate, and travel far beyond conventional notions of home, nation, and belonging,” writes artist Chitra Ganesh whose works on display are inspired by Amar Chitra Katha images that have been digitally reworked with her poetry and personal imagery, which hints towards issues of gender and sexuality. The exhibition considers subjectivity as a palimpsest of lived experiences, interactions and relationships which are no longer tied to nation and location alone but moves towards space beyond.

The exhibition continues through February 21st AIFACS Gallery, 1 Rafi Marg, New Delhi – 110001

Cosmic canvases at Sangeet Shyamala 

19 Dec

This winter, escape into a cosmic realm with Biswajit Panda’s ‘Cosmic Dance’.
The solo will open at Sangeet Shyamala, in Vasant Vihar on the 20th of December, 2017. It showcases over 25 canvases painted over the year, 2016-2017. Panda is a mid-career artist whose celestial canvases tap into the energy of the universe presenting a cosmic dance through his unique and spontaneous combination of colours.

Born in 1973 in small-town Balasore Odisha, Panda currently resides and works in Delhi. He graduated in Performing Art (Sitar) From Prachin Kala Kendra Chandigarh. After which he pursued Higher Studies under the Guidance of Pt. Biswajit Roy Chaudhary, at Sri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi. Biswajit has also trained under Punjab Rattan Awardee, S. S Kukkal, an artist who has nurtured and taught many budding painters. It was perhaps from him that Biswajit was inspired to take up teaching art, which he currently does in Delhi Public School, International.

The backdrop of his circular and square canvases is black, like the endless night and it is against this midnight black that streaks of red, gold, brown and silver colour, run down the canvas…tracing their own path in a spontaneous cascade that breaks the monochrome of the black. Amidst this profusion of dripping colours, a flight of butterflies dots the canvas. The butterfly is a symbol of hope, resurrection and change according to Christian theology. In Hinduism, the butterfly is a symbol of rebirth.

Cosmic Dance 2 60x60 inches Linen on Canvas 2017

Cosmic Dance is an amalgam of acrylic on canvas  works created over two years, 2016-2017

His works are a cathartic cleansing, a powerhouse of positive energy that has culled itself out of vicissitude and trying times. The circular earth-shaped canvases, channel energy that resembles a cosmic dance, one where there is an interplay of dynamic and static divine energy flow, containing the five principles of eternal life-forces.

Low Res

Biswajit Panda at his studio in Vasant Kunj with his latest canvas that will be displayed at his solo show Cosmic Dance 20th December to 13th January

Sangeet Shyamala is a multicultural space that supports and popularizes the fine arts, be it painting, music, dance or theatre. “Sangeet Shymala believes in ideals of a versatile cultural education hence this multi-disciplinary space creates, nurtures and promotes the fine arts with a vision to enlighten young creative minds, that are fresh and receptive to an artistic awakening,” says Acting Director, Vasundhara Tiwari Broota who is also head of the Visual Arts section.

Chief guest justice Aftab Alam former judge of Supreme Court

Vasundhara Tiwari Broota with Chief guest justice Aftab Alam former judge of Supr Court at the annual day exhibition in November  2017


Kathak Dancer and Choreographer Chetna Jalan

The Performing Arts Section is spearheaded by Smt Chetna Jalan, a well-known theatre actor and Kathak dancer-choreographer, who is closely associated with Sangeet Shyamala. She has presented several shows on Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Contemporary Dance Styles with children and young adults. Also with seasoned exponents in the field.

Established in 1971, and it operated for many years from the residence of its Honorary Director, Smt. Som Tewari. In 1984, Sangeet Shyamala was allotted half an acre of land in Vasant Vihar, where a full-fledged cultural centre has been built, complete with classrooms, studios, art gallery, concert hall, open-air auditorium, cafeteria and library.


Painted Car Project

As part of a Tribute to Som Tiwari, the founder of Sangeet Shymala, the Visual Arts Department painted her old Maruti that was going to be junked. The colourful car was adorned with paintings done by the students who painted the car with images by the masters like Jamini Roy, M F Husain, Tyeb Mehta, and others.

The memory of objects is superior to other memories since it is a visual encounter with the manifestation of recollection, remembrance and commemoration.  Where the past and the future unite in a seamless experience of the present.

Apart from all these presentations, Sangeet Shyamala has organised other musical extravaganzas as well all throughout the year. It has brought together many legends from the music and the dance world to showcase their talent and create a mesmerising atmosphere.

Which is why Cosmic Dance is a perfect way to bring in the New Year and herald a new season of art at Sangeet Shyamala.

Cosmic Dance, Biswajit Panda, Featuring canvases, installations and performance by Biswajit Panda, Art Consultant: Georgina Maddox, 20th of December 2017 till 13th January 2017, At Surrender Paul Art Gallery, Sangeet Shyamala, Time: 6.30 pm onwards, opening night. Daily timings 11 am to 7 pm, Sangeet Shyamala, 12 A, opposite A-11/6, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, Delhi 110057