K.G. Subramanyan: A Retrospective

Art Musings celebrates its fourth anniversary
Art Musings celebrates its fourth anniversary with a special exhibition of paintings by India's popular contemporary artists namely Anjolie Ela Menon, Paresh Maity, Jogen Chowdhury, Sakti Burman and S H Raza. The works of these celebrated artists are part of the annual big show at this gallery run by Shanti Chopra, her daughter Sangita and Kasturi Wadhwani.

For the three, Shanti & Sangita Chopra and Kasturi Wadhwani, Art Musings in South Mumbai is more than a gallery. Shanti Chopra reminisces to say: "It's the realization of a dream. Art has always been my real passion. My father was very fond of art. Then through my husband I met a lot of artists, and my love for art grew."

This 800-sq. ft. gallery in Colaba was formally thrown open to art patrons in 1999. Well-known artists like, Subhash Awchat, Anjolie Ela Menon and Paresh Maity graced the inaugural art show. Maity's works were then on display. V. P. Singh was also there. At the first year anniversary exhibition of the gallery, Shanti Chopra wanted "Eden Revisited" to be the commemorative muse (probably, because the gallery itself is in a colonial mansion and has an Eden-like ambience)-with or without the trouble-creating apple.

This year, on the eve of the fourth anniversary celebrations, several art lovers from different walks of life flocked in to meet the artists and see the collection of stunning paintings. Shaina N C, Bobby Sista, Naina Kanodia, Arjun Rampal, Meher Jessia and Namrata Shirodkar among others made it an occasion to remember.

There's no concept or theme for the show because it's restrictive to the artist, Shanti Chopra maintains. For the anniversary show, Ganesh Pyne has given his jottings. Also, there's Sakti Burman's adaptation of the style of Ajanta cave murals. The exhibition continues till April 5, 2003.

Sculptor Uma Gupta's 'Aquarius' - inspired by her romance with the sea
Delhi-based Uma Gupta's recent work titled 'Aquarius', inspired by her romance with the sea and her love for dance forms, was recently showcased at Cymroza Art Gallery in Mumbai. Her present series began in the year 2000, without having a definite theme in mind.

The sculptural pieces she was creating: heads with hair and beards swirling or wrapped around themselves and the human semi-human 'fish-like' creatures all suggested movement or stillness in water. Thus 'Aquarius' was born, reflecting a subconscious yearning to be near her first love: The Sea.

Uma Gupta developed an interest in Ceramics in 1991 and learned basic wheel throwing with Moosa Sadr and advanced training with Kristine Michael. By 1996 she had moved on from wheel thrown pottery to sculptural form with the emphasis on contrasting surface textures.

Her experimentation with mask making and relief work culminated in a group display at the Inside Story, New Delhi in 1998. She also attended courses on welding techniques for sculptors and figurative sculptures using clay and mixed media at The Sculpture Centre and the Art Student's League in New York City. She developed a preference for bronze over clay as a medium of expression In November 2001 she was part of a group show of "Eleven Eminent Women Artists" at Swastika Art Gallery, New Delhi.

In future, she is hoping to use enameling techniques to accent her bronze sculpture. Uma Gupta lives and works in New Delhi.

K.G. Subramanyan: A Retrospective
A new book on veteran painter K.G. Subramanyan is a retrospective of the artist's oeuvre that has grown richer with passage of time.

"There are many things I consider fundamental to my art creativity; emotions, inspirations, the inner landscape of the heart, agonies, enthusiasms and such psychological minutiae that I do not feel comfortable talking about. People sometimes ask such questions. That blue in your painting, what does that mean? You don't know. But to avoid a second question you say may be I was depressed then.' That pink, you add in a light vein. "Maybe I was happy. That explains it, they declare you have two contrary streaks inside your placid self. You are a schizo with a grinning cat on the right, a growling dog on the left," Subramanyan has been quoted as saying in the book, giving an insight into his intriguing thought processes as an artist, which he is not always keen to reveal.

The book is an effort to draw the artist out of his recluse and offer an insight into the creative processes. The book traces various aspects of his creativity and the influences that shaped him and gives a kaleidoscopic view of his six-decade long artistic journey from the backwaters of Kerala, Mahe, Santiniketan, Slade in England and then in various towns of Europe, encompassing a vast range of media such as watercolors, gouache, oils, acrylics, relief murals, panels, fabrics and terracotta.

Rajeev Lochan, Director, National gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, mentions in the preface that the works of one of India's famous contemporary artists create a mosaic that link up the most isolating moments of our common past both to our present-day cultural practices and to the larger human landscape.

The most fascinating aspect of the book is the color plate representing the artist's major works. For its rich visual content and in-depth research the book is a collector's item.

Four huge paintings on The Times of India, Delhi building
On the eve of the colorful festival of Holi, the white paint on the Times of India building at the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi gave way to exciting splashes of color. It was a perfect sense of occasion to time the transformation that marks The TOI's yearlong celebration of color.

The four huge paintings that now adorn the building portray Lord Krishna playing Holi, the festival of colors, with a group of contemporary Indian youth. Renowned art director and graphic artist Naved Akhtar has conceived and executed the paintings, in a comic book-like pop-art style that use graphic shapes, sound blurbs and a bold palette of colors.

The giant paintings were unveiled in front of a 10,000-strong crowd in a spectacular ceremony on March 17, 2003. The eager audience was left mesmerized after the spectacular paintings were unveiled in a grand opening ceremony. This marked a unique occasion and milestone in terms of a corporate office donning vibrant colors on its exterior. The colorful transformation is a result of the TOI belief that as a media house that touches the lives of millions, it wants to take art out of its narrow confines and make it accessible to the masses, freeing it from the exclusive preserve of the elite.

The thematic content of the painting reflects a similar vision. By having Krishna come down to interact and play Holi with ordinary young people of today, the artist has tried to present an image of a more accessible, playful God.

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