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Bhupen Khakhar: A Retrospective & other exhibits

Bhupen Khakhar: A Retrospective
A retrospective of one of India's most controversial contemporary painters, late Bhupen Khakhar, was unveiled at NGMA, Mumbai on November 4, 2003. The first ever retrospective of the late artist's work in his home country is a spectacular collection of his works collected from abroad and across the country. The late artist's most important works have seldom been displayed in India, albeit a retrospective of his work was held in Madrid last year.

Bhupen Khakhar died of cancer on August 8, 2003. Around 150 of Khakhar's artworks includingt his paintings, sculptures, ceramic works and dhurries are on view. One gets to see paintings such as Janta Watch Repairing, one of his earliest works called Devi, Yagna - Marriage, Hamam Khana, Man With Plastic Flowers, Man from Thailand, and Gallery of Rogues, among others.

Usha Mirchandani has curated the show whereas Praful Shah, one of Khakhar's largest collectors in India, is its main sponsor. The curator notes: "Khakhar will be remembered, art historically, as one of the most inventive painters of his time." The exhibition provides a glimpse into Khakhar's artistic journey and his stylistic experiments.

Starting with his first solo show at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1965, Khakhar's work has been exhibited in almost every premiere venue around the world. He received the Padma Shree in 1984, the Asian Cultural Council Starr Fellowship in 1986 and the Prince Klaus Fund Award in 2000. He was also a reputed writer and playwright in Gujarati, with several collections of short stories and two important plays.

The Bhupen Khakhar retrospective continues till November 26, 2003.

"Moving" art
Nasik-based painter, sculptor and graphic artist, Sudhir Deshpande held an exhibit of his recent works at Hyderabad's Alankrita Art Gallery. He put together his kinetic sculptures, action paintings and digital graphics for a show that drew curious visitors to the gallery.

This self-taught artist-sculptor has no formal education in arts. He likes to work in metals, wood and different durable materials. The artist instills movement into his three-dimensional works. Mobile sculptures along with water and music etc. are his forte.

His sculptures, murals, and electronics paintings are based on Philosophy. "I am concerned about my life after death," says the artist. Thematically conceived, Deshpande practices Kinetic art form. His choice of medium and sound engineering to install his huge metallic sculptures makes the artist stand out.

The work was on display at Alankrita Art Gallery, Hyderabad, till November 15.

IIFA award to Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor, an India-born and London-based artist, is the recipient of this year's Dayawati Modi award given by the International Institute of Fine Arts (IIFA), Delhi. The award Last year was given to Paris-based painter S H Raza. Manjit Bawa and Satish Gujral have also received the prestigious award since its inception in 1994,.

Anish Kapoor, born in 1954 in Mumbai, moved to the U.K. in the early '70s. He was awarded Britain's prestigious Turner Prize in 1991. In 2002 he created the much-hyped Marsyas, a sculpture that looked like a giant trumpet. It was exhibited at London's Turbine Hall.

The award will be presented to Anish Kapoor on November 17, 2003 in Delhi. He will also be visiting Mumbai, his birthplace, for a day on an invitation by the Tao Art Gallery in association with IIFA. During his stay, he will interact with a select art lovers and also some collectors.

Kapoor has exhibited at various prestigious venues internationally, but is yet to showcase his work in India. The British Council is soon planning to hold a show of his works, the details of which are being worked out.

The circle of clay work
Madhvi Subramanian's ceramic works were on view at Gallery Chemould, Mumbai in the first week of November.

The primal elements of earth, water, fire and air contribute towards completing the circle of clay work. Madhvi Subramanian's ceramics emphasizes the primal nature of her material. The forms of her work though derived from the functional pot expand into the realm of the sculptural.

She builds her pieces by layering coil over coil, the form spirals upwards rhythmically; the process itself becomes ritual in the bowls, platters, pods and seeds dedicated to fertility and containment. The skin of the pieces marks the effects of time and is juxtaposed with basic geometric patterns.

The exhibition continued till November 8, 2003.

Shared artistic space
On the eve of its first anniversary, Chennai based Ashvita Gallery presented an exhibition 'one 15th', an unusual collaborative creativity, involving fifteen artists and fifteen canvases. Working on predetermined themes for every canvas, the artists collaborated to create artwork under the gaze of curious art-lovers on all fifteen canvases, with each artist working on one-fifteenth of the space on each canvas.

The merging of distinctly individual styles, techniques and media provided new meaning to 'shared space.' In a chronological viewing, the paintings illustrated the growing relationship among the artists, readily apparent in the initially squared-off spaces that began with specific boundaries, later coalescing into a conglomeration of styles. Palanquins and Plastic, Chair and Window, Monsoon Madness and Material Girl formed the theme of landscapes, figuration and depictions of Nature, thus generating narratives.

The participating artists were Asma Menon, Bhagwan Shankar Chavan, S. Bhavani Shankar, P. S. Devanath, S. Dhinakara Sundar, A.V. Ilango, K. Jayachander, N. Karoonamoorthy, C. Krishnaswamy, TRP Mookiah, P. Perumal, Shalini Biswajit, S. R. Sripathy Acharya, S. Swaminathan and Thota Tharani.

The paintings were on display at Ashvita, Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai, till November 15, 2003.

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