Wednesday, March 19, 2014

#DORIGHT- Our Folk Art & Artists deserve much more!

Seated cross-legged on the floor, burning the mid-night lamp, I'm engrossed in giving the last finishing touches to my work. As I rise to appreciate it from a distance, my body aches and every bone in my back, neck seems to be thankful that I'm done with this ordeal. The pain is however easily forgotten with the satisfaction of having put away a completed assignment into the portfolio. 

Thus, as a student of art,I'd realised it very early on that Art is not as much fun all the way, as I'd imagined. It is painstaking, requires a lot of patience and does not promise hefty paychecks easily. 
However this understanding had also heightened my respect and appreciation for the folk artists of India.

We sit in luxurious homes on comfortable chairs with our easels prepped with all the tools possible but a traditional rural artist has nothing of the sort. Its just his passion that keeps his brush moving, dedicatedly filling in the minute and intricate details of each fantastic painting. Each painting a finer masterpiece than before!

Giving him company, learning from his experience, drawing from his inspiration, teaching one another are his other family members, the children and the aged, who hone their own art as well with equal competance.This very art for which they all toil, sadly however, does not give them much in return.  They are blessed with an abundance of talent but why does wealth elude them?

Image sourced from
Theirs is a saddening sort of tale, the scene at the artists' households of almost all the PattaChitrakaras or artisans in the village of Raghurajpur, in the Puri District of Odisha. 

Patta (cloth)- Chitra (paintings) based on Hindu mythological stories mainly depict tales of Lord Vishnu or Lord JaganNath (an incarnation of Lord Krishna). The style of painting is narrative, painted in bold, clean and sharp angular lines. The background on which the figures are represented is dilineated with profuse flowers and foliage mostly painted in a red colour. Every painting is finished with a highly decorative border or couple of borders in varying thickness.

The flag bearers of  centuries old traditional PattaChitra Kala, manage a living on measly sums of money made from the sales of their paintings. Scores of these exquisite scroll paintings are sold in the cities and this has now become a popular art form here while the artisans that made them continue to live in a very neglected state. Raghurajpur has been declared as a Heritage Crafts Village but how many of the traditional painters or Chitrakaras have directly benefited from this, monetraily? Has it helped better their lifestyle?
This has been their story until now. If we wish it could be just the first HALF of their story. There are a few like TATA CAPITAL who have realised that it is time to DO RIGHT and has triggered an initiative in the same name. Their vision is truly commendable on how we can ammend all that has been so wrong until now. We really can lend a hand in putting things right for the artists and their hard-working family, by following through on what Tata Capital has proposed. We could all be the catalysts of that change in their story henceforth. The other half of their story could bring them better times, if WE the privileged lot decide to make it so!

Primarily as an artist myself, I can feel one with the PattaChitra artists where the right to appropriate appreciation and recognition is concerned. It is very difficult to imagine being paid in peanuts after hours of back-breaking and squinting at the detailed drawings, when the output is so fantastic. When I look at how other countries from around the world are preserving and promoting their traditional art and artists, I feel ashamed that our treasure trove has not yet been given its due pedestal.

As an Art Curator I have always supported the cause of our tribal and folk artists from the different rural pockets of our culturally rich country. I have supported the tribal artists of Nagaland in the past and am now presently working on an Art initiative for the artists in J&K. The project DO RIGHT has all my support and I will be promoting this cause from my FB page

I also intend to strive to bring about a change in the trends of how gallerists operate. IndiChange needs me! That's what I was told and I therefore endeavour to be the lynchpin between the artist and his patron, by giving them a direct connect. I'm a big believer of Karma and I know what goes, comes right around and back!


I therefore now call upon the generosity of all our Art lovers and Art connoisures to support and encourage this particular form of Folk Art- PattaChitra Kala by purchasing and promoting the works of the artists from Raghurajpur in Orissa.
It is time to #DORIGHT, do our duty, give the artists what they deserve and if possible, more!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Religious Indian art goes spiritually symbolic.

         We believe we are an entirely new generation of artists, with all new sensibilities acquired in this new Millenium. However when it comes to art, we are still very deeply rooted in our age old traditions. If not mimicking or following it entirely, we are still strongly influenced by the cultures and traditions of our land or even by the master artists of the bygone eras. We all have our source of inspirations and then what we connect with the most, we depict it on our canvas or express it through our own choice of media.

The history of Fine Art in India, has predominantly seen the influence of Hinduism - the product of the fusion of the Aryan culture with a healthy helping of  the Dravidian culture, which may possibly also include a dash of the Indus Valley Civilisation too. The massive pantheon of Gods personifying natural powers came from the Aryans. Indra-the king of Gods, Varuna- the God of the oceans, Vayu or Marut-the God of the winds and so on and so forth. Through fusion with the earlier inhabitants of the Indian Peninsula, two primary Gods came to be chiefly propitiated, them being Vishnu & Shiva while the other deities slowly began to be given lesser importance. 

ARTIST: Sampath Kumar 
SIZE: 12” X 12”
MEDIA: Acrylic on Canvas Board 

Fanaticism consequently brought a major divide leading to the formation of two main sects. The cult following through personal devotion came to be known as Vaishnavites & Shaivites. Each camp of artists adopted their own iconography. Lord Siva has thus been depicted ever since time immemorial with the typical Trident, the bull and the holy Lingam within the temple precincts. Also particular poses and gestures became significant like Lord Shiva's famous Nataraja-the Tandav dance stance, etc.

Including my own self, there are numerous artists that draw heavily on Hindu iconography. Each in their own style, and palette of vibrant colours appeal to our Indian sentiments. Over the years however its been strongly felt that people have risen over and above caste, creeds and sects and appreciate such mythological art for their artistic beauty and the vibrant warmth,it brings into the ambiance its placed at, also lending it a personality. 

According to artist Sampath Kumar his 2nd SHIVA series have been created with a strong preference for spirituality in its raw form than merely believing in the boundaries of country and religiousness. 

 Lord Siva has grown to be a universally accepted form liked by one and all, religion no bar. Paintings of Siva now reflect more of spirituality than religious symbolism alone.

 Sampath Kumar explains "I try to bring out the spiritual aspect of the subjects chosen and always try to understand light and sound, IN and around us. Inner peace is all I seek through ART.

"Art for me is the nearest doorway to unlock the mysteries of life." Sampath Kumar concludes.
ARTIST: Sampath Kumar 
SIZE: 12” X 12”
MEDIA: Acrylic on Canvas Board 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Impressions of a bygone era...

It was just one landscape that became the Icon of an entire era in Western Art and even gave the artists' revolutionary movement its name! 

CLAUDE MONET's landscape titled IMPRESSION, SUNRISE  was one of the first few open-air landscapes that was painted in a riot of brightly coloured paint daubs on canvas in a style of painting that was an outright rebellion against the traditional dull greys of the closed room paintings.

Impressionist  Landscapes were made with more sensitivity towards nature's hues. The Impressionists worked with a keen eye for observations like the play of shade and light on objects and the reflections of other objects falling on it. They painted with small, short brush-strokes called broken or divided colour, reproducing the sparkle of light on the waters and the vibrancy of the foliage around, onto canvas. The short and choppy brush strokes lent their paintings an unfinished look but it is undeniable that there was scientific precision in the representation of the colours and light in the Landscape.

The Landscapes from the Impressionist era abandoned modelling and detailing, sacrificed solidity for the brilliance of colours, replaced perspective by the blurring of  distant horizons. Their spots of colour represented distortions caused by the  bright and shimmering light or the atmosphere in which the scenery bathed. Claude Monet's landscapes always had water bodies that provided movement and while painting he not only represented light but also depicted, fog, mists and cold. As a fine Art Curator, it's an exhilarating feeling to find an artist who shows the same spark of finesse. Artist Chester Carter has attempted a style that the Masters pioneered. Here's a self-taught Landscape artist from Nevada whose work seems to be strongly influenced by the Impressionist Era.

 His paintings for your kind appreciation.....

Media : Oil on Canvas
Completed on 08/29/2013
Size: 18X24X1.5 inches

Media : Oil on Canvas
Completed on 09/12/2013
Size : 24X30X0.5 inches

Media : Oil on Canvas
Completed 08/19/2013
Size...24X18X1.5 inches

Media : Oil on Canvas
Completed 09/20/2013
Size: 24X12X1.5 inches

Media : Oil on Canvas
Completed 09/25/2013
Size : 24X12X1.5 inches

Artists are also performing for an audience and Art when appreciated is the acknowledgment of a person's attempt of self-expression. Your kind and constructive criticism is precious to us, the emerging artist and his humble curator! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Moral booster

Life has been kind to me. 
People have always shown love and support to all my endeavours. However not all women in India are as privileged as I am. There are still a large number of women living with very limited resources, a life of suppression and oppression. There are some greatly talented and enterprising women who are being refused the basic rights to self-expression. 

Pardisan is an NGO, that came into inception in 2012 with the sole aim of creating a life and giving livelihood for such women in Jammu and Kashmir. With the primary goal of empowering the local women of J&K, Pardisan is engaging in social enterprises like the sales of arts & handicrafts, utility items made out of recycled & natural materials in order to create remuneration for the underprivileged women.  

Pardisan has also been actively involved in Environment Conservation activities, Recycling of material for conservation of resources, Rehabilitation of destitute and abuse victims, Adult-Education and has taken numerous steps to reach out to the poor and the needy in the states. 

Pardisan has initiated its good work from the District of Udhampur but intends to encompass other surrounding districts and reach out to the innumerable other parts of the States of Jammu & Kashmir wherever help and support may be required. 

With the help of this very noble NGO, I will try to do my moral duty of extending support the women in J & K by giving them hope and reconciliation through their art, itself.
As the curator at BINGK ARTs I will be utilising this platform to raise some funds for the NGO by conducting ART workshops in Kashmiri embroidery and Papier Mache', Online auctions and such related activities. I am hoping that we will be able to contribute to the betterment of the lives of the women in J& K. 

By supporting this noble endeavour by BINGK ART CURATORS, please tell me that we can make this world a better place to live in...please show some ♥ my beautiful people!!! :)

As the first step to show your support please visit their FB page and LIKE Pardisan.

May GOD BLESS your week ahead...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ulhas Raikar's exquisitly detailed works

Arwa Janjali was enthralled by the solo exhibition ' Magic of the Quill' that displayed unique and fantastic works of art by renowned senior artist Ulhas Raikar. His Cro-Quill has truly brought out the essence of traditional India. The exhibition was a run-away success! Read on in the press cutting from Sakaal Times, Friday, March 20, 2009.

Happy New Year!

Did the art market fair well in 2008 and what is expected from 2009? Neha Madaan was noting down the gallerist's views on Pune's art scene in 'Hello Pune' on Monday, January 12 2009. For more readability please save the image of the press cutting.

Accredited Art Gallery for the Common Wealth Youth Games

As an accredited Art Gallery- Bingk Art Boutique, laid out the red carpet to expat guests during the III Common Wealth Youth Games hosted by Pune city. 'Spiritual India' - an exhibition that showcased our rich Inidian culture through vibrant paintings, was a tremendous success ! Arwa Janjali Extolled the Event in Sakal Times on Thursday, October 10, 2008.

Art from Kolkata

The artist and his unique work traveled all the way from Kolkata to Bingk Art Boutique. And the exhibition was beautifully covered by DNA After Hrs. Pune Edition on Thursday, August 21, 2008.