Holi, womanhood & cricket present a toxic mix at art exhibitions

Holi, womanhood & cricket present a toxic mix at art exhibitions
This week’s column features a combination of activities where art meets fun. Since Holi, the festival of colours has just passed; we begin with Dhoomimal Gallery’s art workshop ‘Living Colours with Live Painting’, an event that brought colours through art for the under-privileged children of Savera, a Delhi-based NGO. It was planned to bring artists and children together through art and more importantly, create a fun-filled day in the lives of the children. Artists who participated included Biman Das, Krishan Ahuja, Paramjeet Singh, Kavita Nayyar, Shridhar Iyer and others, all of whom joined in with great gusto, turning it into a fun-for-all event. We certainly need more such efforts that go beyond the material aspects of art.

Another interesting event involving art was held in the capital on March 29. Organised by GMR Sports, ‘Batting for Art’ was a group exhibition and sale by 15 eminent Indian artists who came together in an eclectic mix to celebrate art and cricket. The exhibition cum sale was organised by GMR Sports to raise funds for the Arts for All (A4A) Residency programme and other initiatives. A4A aims to promote exchange of ideas and innovation within the contemporary visual arts. GMR Sports effort was taken up because “Contemporary art in India today is a complex scenario where inspirations and ideas come from various origins and amalgamate into new forms”. In this case, the idea was inspired by the spirit of the Delhi Daredevils Cricket Team, all of whom were present at the event.

The 15 participating artists were also a true mix of today’s contemporary artists: Binoy Varghese, Chintan Upadhayay, Dileep Sharma, Farhad Husain, Jayasri Burman, Kanchan Chander, Khem Vaishnav, Neeraj Goswami, Paresh Maity, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Satish Gupta, Seema Kohli, Sidharth, Thota Vaikuntam and Yusuf Arakkal. Besides the paintings created by the artists in their own styles, they also decorated 15 specially made larger sized cricket bats, that were recognisable by each distinctive style and became real collector’s items.

The third on this list is ‘Vama: the Women Art Exhibition’, celebrated International Women’s Day with an exhibition which brought together 51 female art practitioners from three categories: senior artists, mid-way practitioners and young art walkers. The participating artists, who came from a variety of art schools, brought in a diverse range of styles and expressions.

This unique celebration of womanhood, was captured through the strokes of contemporary art, by some of India’s top female artists, including Arpana Caur, Anupam Sud, Gogi Saroj Pal, Shobha Broota, Chitra Joshi, Deepali Manglik, Seema Kohli, Kavita Jaiswal, Yuriko Ando Lochan, Shelly Jyoti, Archana Khurana, Nisha Aggarwal, Nivedita Pandey among others. Planned as an eight-day extravaganza at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the theme of the exhibition ‘Centralising Peripheries’, brought women artists right into central focus on various discourses and aspects of their life and art. Delhi’s art-loving public were enthusiastic in their praise, “Whether it was veteran artist Gogi Saroj Pal’s Kamdhenu, Seema Kohli’s The Womb or Gunjan Tyagi’s installation Wall of Emotions, the connoisseurs of art appreciated the multifarious forms and talents on display.”

(The writer is a winner of many advertising design awards and a painter of repute)


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