The artworks on display range from watercolours on paper or canvas to mixed media works and even sculptures but what unites them is that all the artists are from Baroda who share a deep-seated pride and nostalgia for the homeland.
‘Touch Beyond The Surface’ at The Harrington Street Arts Centre on Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata, is a collaborative effort with Rukshaan Art led by renowned art aficionado Rukshaan Krishna.
Noni Khullar, the owner of The Harrington Street Art Centre, and (right) Rukshaan Krishna, the lady behind bringing the artists and their artwork from Baroda to Kolkata
The exhibition attempts to reflect contemporary expressions, in distinctive tones, the integrity of thought from each artist and one may even observe a personal point of reference in experience and environment in the works. Forms, patterns, figures are elegantly handled to narrate the unique ambience of nature, architecture and social life, and as the organisers explain: “The interpretation of each one’s story builds a reality that is the true reflection of the artist’s character and beliefs.”
All the artists featured at the exhibition are trained at various art establishments in Baroda and all of them work out of the city itself even though they may hail from different parts of the country.
“The reason why I am in Kolkata is because if you look at the Baroda School of Art, you will have to acknowledge the tremendous influence that Bengal has had on the institute and the artists. Many of the artists who have studied in Baroda have had deep influences of Bengal in their creative processes and ideas and as such the connect via art is, but very obvious,” said Krishna, the proprietor of Rukshaan Art.
Established in 2008, Rukshaan Art is among India’s leading contemporary art galleries and this is its first foray into Kolkata’s art scenario.
One from Ramgopal Kumawat’s: Autumn memories with some forgotten stories series
Krishna said each of the artworks on display at the Kolkata exhibition has a fascinating tale such as Girjesh Kumar Singh’s emphasis on migration and identities embodied within a brick that has fallen off but continues to retain its ‘construction’ or identity no matter what.
“My personal interest has always been on the material that each artist has used. I would like to point out some such as Sajal Sasanka Sarkar – and his use of cotton and banana fibre pulp to show nature and architecture along with the tiger which depicts power. The artist speaks of co-existence, the capability of two opposites to exist in harmony. Drashti G, another artist profiled here displays her love for the elderly through the depictions of her grandparents whom she loves dearly. Her artwork is thus her obeisance to the elders and show them not as helpless but empowered, capable. Sanjay Barot, another of the artists featured here, is basically talking about society and structure, structure in the sense of making a comment on hierarchy as well as a physical entity with the use of an architecture. Society, it is said, is made and judged by the people, known and the unknown, both, and in his creations Barot uses the frame as a stepping into the canvas, something that mesmerises as well as lingers within the viewer.”
Krishna said the artists featured here have unique processes in creating their works and they all come from very true places. “Gulab Kapadia comes from a very normal household where his father sells vegetables on a cart and then caters to weddings. He thus reposes full faith in small business holders without whose contribution no big industry can survive. His medium is basically watercolour on rice paper pasted on canvas and on board.”
Ajay Dhapa poses before his exquisite artworks
My artwork is reflective of the land to which I belong, Navivasi, Jamnagar, in Gujarat and focuses mainly on carpets which as we all know lies stretched out on the floor and stays in direct contact with Mother Earth or earthly realities as such. My use of the carpets is thus a metaphor of the stories that stay connected to the ground realities. My work depicts short stories with a focus on the past present and the future with some having elements of political overtones as well. They speak of communal harmony amongst all, holding up glimpses of people we would meet regularly in everyday lives and activities.
Girjesh Kumar Singh explains his creative thought and processes guiding his artworks
Girjesh Kumar Singh
The medium that I have chosen are, as you can see, remnants, demolished brick works from old buildings. My artwork titled ‘In Transit’ depicts a man who is possibly on a journey and is resting for a while. It depicts a symbolic completion of one journey as shown in the remnants of the old building, the brickwork, and the beginning of a new one in another form of a new physical reality. That I feel is the eternal journey of our human condition and that is what I have tried to portray here in my works.