From nudity as art, to works from across the border, Delhi gets it all

From nudity as art, to works from across the border, Delhi gets it all
Sajith Kumar
A number of exhibitions were launched in the capital, during the recently held India Art Fair. Some of these have concluded, while others are still on and much in news. We begin with the Delhi Art Gallery’s controversial exhibition The Naked and the Nude — the title says it all by showing that there is a difference between the two. Needless to say, it drew the ire of many, including political groups who launched protests in the capital and even other cities. They were reacting to an exhibition that focused on nudity in art, forgetting our country’s traditional art, which ‘celebrated the body as an object of beauty’.

Drawing the human figure is considered among the more essential courses in every art school or college, and it is through these studies that an art student learns proportions and how to draw people — clothed or otherwise. DAG’s exhibition consisted of artworks by more than 60 modern Indian artists, ‘known for their exploration and celebration of the body’ and offered a range comprising ‘western academic-tradition studies and sensuous depictions popularised by Raja Ravi Verma’. DAG’s first exhibition in this genre, it was accompanied by an illustrated volume featuring more than 250 works of artists from the 20th century including F N Souza, K H Ara, M F Husain, K Laxma Gaud and others.

Among the other exhibitions held during this period that deserves mention is Gallery Art-Motif’s Still Life exhibition. It was the second in the series and featured the works of 22 artists. Among these were some delightful ‘rooms’, one by John Tun Sein and another by Nayanaa Kanodia, which were so different from each other. Others that drew attention were Anupam Sud’s remarkable still life of Bottles as well and a study of fruit and a glass goblet, Kiyomi Talaulicar’s Ladder and Sudhir Patwardhan’s Chair, while Madhvi Parekh’s colourful presentation in folk style was well matched by Madhu Parekh’s equally colourful spread of varied flowers. Among the other flower studies, that deserve mention are Manoj Dutta’s two vase studies in tempera, Pulak Biswas’ vase with white flowers and Suddhasattwa Basu’s masterly water colour study of white flowers with green leaves.

Gallery Latitude 28’s presentation Crossing Over featured works of 13 artists from Pakistan. Conceptualised by Rashid Rana and curated by Amberen karamat, these works offered an insight into the art being practiced across the border. It included traditional art as well as contemporary art forms that act ‘as a bridge, a crossing over, to a new direction...in irregularly charted routes’. This exhibition also offered art lovers an opportunity of finding the many invisible links that we share with these artists.

Also on show during this period at Art Heritage were the works of one of India’s important painters, Akbar Padamsee. Among his peers, Padamsee is regarded as a more elusive and less featured artist — but not for any lack of talent. Here is an opportunity to see some rare lithographs and photographs of Padamsee’s work presented by Art Heritage, a gallery known for their attention to detail. A show not to be missed, it will be on till 27th February.

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

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