Monday, 13 March 2017

A group show after a sabbatical

I had met a friend recently who wondered why I do not exhibit and I really did not have a valid reason. Perhaps it was the non acceptance that I have faced in my previous shows. This brings me to the question, who am I painting for? Why am I looking for acceptance? Did Van Gogh receive any acceptance when alive? Did he not continue to paint till his last days irrespective?

My paintings have been my thoughts, my feelings, my views, my visual diary... I love them and would like to share my experience with you.

So I activated my Facebook account after three months and checked an acquaintance's page to see if he was up to any shows and voila, I am two days within the deadline of applying for his group show.

The show is for three days on 14th, 15th and 16th of April (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
@ Cymroza Art Gallery, 1st floor, 72 Bhula Bhai Desai Road, Breach Candy, Mumbai

Please do not see this blog as just an invitation. On the contrary, I thought of taking you through my works which I have displayed.

The first one being one of the most recent ones, Old no. 73. I have explained this painting in detail on a previous blog, please click on the hyperlink which will take you to it.

The following painting has somehow always fascinated me, it is David and Goliath.

Title: David and Goliath
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 30 in x 24 in
Year: 2016
The actual story revolves around how a human defeats a Giant. However, in this painting, I choose David (Michelangelo's David) to personify the Giant - the human ego which is larger than life, which has been the cause of many a downfall and the actual 'David' is the tiny ant which many a time gets ignored, the most efficient team player, the most hardworking, strongest creature on earth, yet is almost always squashed and dismissed to be a bug.

How many of us can relate to this ant? How many of our efforts are overlooked? How many of us continue to slave on waiting for our moment of recognition only to be swatted away by larger, more flamboyant creatures who are less deserving? Do you not think it is time to catapult our way and etch ourselves into the History books? Don't you think it is time to stop wallowing in our sorrows and rise on the wings of our glory? Let us all, all the 'David's' join hands and conquer the well-deserved limelight and create a revolution, one that the world has been in thirst for.

Title: Broken Sleep
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 30 in x 36 in
Year: 2015

The next one received the following review from a friend, "If I see this painting day in and day out, I'd pack my bags and go home! Therefore, I will not buy this painting." This friend resides in Manila and feels that this painting would evoke too many emotions in him to make him want to relocate. This has by far  been the biggest compliment I have ever received. This is what I want my paintings to do.

It talks about what is real and what is not. They say a mirror reflects the truth but in this case the mirror seems to be a doorway into a different reality compared to what is reflected in the barren land of disturbed, broken sleep. There lies a slipper and a path of ants indicative of something or someplace beyond containing perhaps the hope of happiness and contentment which currently ceases to exist.

Title : Journey
Medium : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 36in x 30in
Year : 2009

My journey in life has till date been quite haphazard. I have never kept a clear goal to chalk out a set path. My choices have been driven by a constant boredom which has kept me on this never ending arduous path of search - a search for the unknown, a search for that sip which might satisfy my unquenchable thirst for an incomprehensible experience. Will I ever find it? I have no clue but I continue undefeated on this journey of mine which I would like you all to be a part of.

If any of my works caused an inkling of emotion in you, then I request you to please visit the show in person to have a one on one interaction with my paintings. If this blog is making you want to paint, then please do join me in this quest for the unknown. It has been tedious but nevertheless utterly enjoyable!

Friday, 3 March 2017

How to learn the art of learning 'Art'

The past couple of years, I have been toying with the idea of a wholesome learning through Art. Instead of teaching young children to draw stick figures of people, animals etc., limiting their knowledge, I wanted the learning to be a 360 degree experience. In the sense, if I were teaching someone to draw a horse, I’d rather take them to the zoo so they can observe what a galloping horse looks like, what it looks like when it is grazing, what it looks like when it is lying still. How high can a normal human being reach up to a horse?

The primary limitation which I feel in representational art is the lack of being able to see reality for what it is. Post observation and discussion at the zoo, concentrating on one topic at a time, students can then sit and sketch what they see: how much the neck is twisting, how much can you see of the other side, not only this but what kinds of expressions the people make when interacting with a horse. Coaching someone to ‘see’ is a long process. It does not happen overnight. Each individual has varying capacities of ‘seeing’. Picasso ‘saw’ clearly at a very young age, while others at a later stage. You might be born with the ability to ‘see’ better but everyone is born an artist. What we do with that talent is what differentiates one from the other.

Traditional art class, has people inside class rooms being taught your normal two inverted V’s to denote a mountain, the zig zag of road going towards the mountain with fields on the side and a hut. I have come to the point that I am absolutely, visually exhausted to see such standardisation. It hurts me to see my nephew or niece resort to such a representation with lack of imagination. A child’s imagination cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Paul Klee, is considered a genius for being able to deconstruct his adult mind to tap into the child within to represent abstract forms. His paintings might seem like child’s play but how easy is child’s play? Are we disregarding something which has so much more value than is credited to it? Are we not dismissing huge potential which exists by blowing away the flames to creativity?

I have grown up learning in a standardised framework. However, the rebel within me could not be confined within a box and I taught myself to break free from the norms to learn what I wanted. Google, being my best friend and Wikipedia my favourite tutor. That burning desire to learn needs to be fueled at a young age to enable the children to know what they want to learn, to pursue their passion, to give it their 120% of their own free will. Not because you have a test next week which needs to be aced to pass. I do not believe in grades. I only believe in individual growth. If you have learnt something new and have retained that information to apply it to something that you are keen on doing, in my eyes you have passed in flying colours.