'Ebony & Ivory' show

An exhibit of 'black & white' drawings and paintings that focuses on faces.

With its latest addition - an art gallery in the foyer of the newly renovated Army and Navy Building - The Kala Ghoda Art District has just upgraded yet again. An exhibition of drawings and paintings titled 'Ebony & Ivory' at the Army & Navy Building Gallery showcasing works of several well-known contemporary Indian artists points to the renewed zest for art.

With its neoclassical facade, this 1897 structure is a historical landmark. It's buzzing with art lovers since its walls featured contemporary Indian art for the first time with an inaugural show in May 2003. Last restored in 1997 by Tata Sons to commemorate 50 years of Indian Independence, the interior of the heritage building now has a fresh new coat of paint to go with its refurbished facade. With David Sasoon Library being the venue for photo exhibitions, the place may well soon become the new alternative space for viewing art.

The gallery is committed to promoting contemporary Indian art. The show titled 'Ebony & Ivory' being held from September 1 to 18, 2003, is a testimony to this. Ebony pronounced 'EB-u-nee' denotes the black wood that comes from the ebony tree. Ivory pronounced 'IE-vur-ee' stands for the hard, creamy-white substance, which makes up the tusks of elephants. The title combining the two contrasting colors should need no further elaboration, and if you have guessed it to be an exhibit of 'black and white' paintings, you are right!

The 'Ebony & Ivory' show has on view 22 drawings and paintings done in different media - all 'black & white'. The show has evoked spontaneous response from art lovers. Here's a brief introduction to the participating artists:
Jatin Das: Born in Orissa, he studied painting at J.J. School of Art. He has had several solo and group shows in India and internationally, including the Paris (1971) and the Venice Biennale (1978). In 1991, the Lalit Kala Akademi held a retrospective of his works. Surendra Jagtap: Born in Latur Maharashtra, he studied at Sangli College of Art, and later, at J.J. School of Art. His works have been a part of the Saffronart exhibit in Hong Kong in 2001. Atin Basak: Born in Kolkata in 1966, he first studied art at Govt. College of Art and Craft, Kolkata and then Graphic Art from M.S. University, Baroda. He has been a recipient of The Charles Wallace India trust Award for 1999-2000. Datta Bansode: Has a Diploma in Painting from the College of Art Pune and a Diploma in Art Education from J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. His works have been a part of the Saffronart exhibition in Hong Kong in 2001. Laxma Goud: Born in Andhra Pradesh, he studied at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture in Hyderabad and at the M.S. University, Baroda. Since 1965, he has exhibited widely in India and abroad. Krishen Khanna: Born in Lahore, he attended evening classes at the Mayo School of Art. He received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Council, New York, for 1962-63. He was awarded the Padma Shree by the Government of India, in 1990. Suhas Roy: Born in erstwhile Bengal, he received his Diploma in Painting in Kolkata in 1958. In 1965, he studied at the Atelier 17 and the Ecole National Superiere des Beaux Arts. Later, he taught art at Santiniketan. Vrindavan Solanki: Born in Gujarat in 1947, he did a diploma in painting & post diploma in graphics from MS University, Baroda. He has had many solo shows in India, in the US and Mauritius. Gurcharan Singh: Born in 1949, he won the National Award of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1976. He participated in the Biennales in Tokyo, the Soviet Union and in the Seoul Contemporary Art Show. Navjot: Born in 1949 in Meerut, she got her diploma from J. J. School of Art in 1972. She has exhibited at the first international Biennale of Prints, Sao Paulo, 1986, 'Intergrafik 87' Berlin, & at Tate Modern century show. Satish Gupta, V. Joshi, Narvekar, and Pratibha Pradhan complete the list of participating artists. The common thread that runs through the impressive collection of 'black & white' works from these artists on view is their focus on faces depicting different human emotions. Artists Narvekar, Pratibha Pradhan, and Gurcharan Singh have works in charcoal on paper. Pratibha Pradhan's close-ups seem to evoke memories of those familiar rural folks - rugged, raw, yet genuine.

Satish Gupta also portrays a rural folk, his face half-covered and a protruding moustache to make him peculiar. Atin Basak's mask-like faces looking in opposite directions give rise to an unusual symmetry whereas Krishen Khanna paints an old man who is in a rather contemplating mood, bearing a worried look on his face. Narvekar's human figures hold the viewer's attention. Laxma Goud's well-ornamented lady looks pleasing to the eyes. Simple line work in his painting combined with plenty of detailing adds an element of richness to it. Suhas Roy too draws a beautiful face. On the other hand, Navjot's haunting faces seem to pose queries to one other and to the audience as well. All these are drawings on paper.

Veteran painter Jatin Das's drawing on paper shows the timeless quality of his work. To put it in his own words, "Human predicament is my basic concern. I draw, paint and etch the human body, without any narrative, devoid of placement of time. The figures in my works do their own things." All these qualities are evident in his work on view at the show.

Amidst the faces there are 'faces without faces' by Vrindavan Solanki. His four works in acrylic on paper seem to belong to the era of the erstwhile maharajas. V. Joshi's depiction of a gorgeously dressed woman taking stealthy steps with a pot on her head is eye-catching.

The Kala Ghoda Association:

The Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) is hosting the exhibition. Started as a citizens' initiative, the KGA strives to revive a culturally important zone of the Mumbai city dotted with art galleries, museums, and heritage structures. The KGA was formally registered as a Society in October 1998.

The two main objectives of the KGA are:
To install systems and mechanisms for the sustenance of efforts to upgrade the area through conservation of its heritage buildings, improvement of the streetscape and their regular maintenance. To establish the area as an Art District. The KGA holds an annual Art Festival.

KGA will receive a part of the revenue generated for its cause from the 'Ebony & Ivory' show that continues till September 18, 2003, at the Army & Navy Building Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai 400001 - from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except Sundays.   Jatin Das

Atin Basak

Laxma Goud

Krishen Khanna

Suhas Roy

Vrindavan Solanki

Gurcharan Singh


Satish Gupta

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