Monday, 31 December 2012

More then 10 yr : It’s a flow of visual energy through various modes of reflection tracks...

Tathi Premchand like a free flowing river, twists and turns and touches upon every wild and calm coast of visual expression. He has established himself as an artist and now its more ten years in the line that he has started from a restricted channel to wide current of flow.                                  

Black and white : Oil colour on canvas : 1994
It is very interesting to note the development or progress of his painting style, mediums and themes. His nature of being articulate, never brooding attitude, eye for details, observing and learning from real life situations have influenced his painting series’. His earlier work is compiled in his coffee table book, named ‘Pomegranate’; it’s a series which deals with basic nature of man and woman. Pomegranate series contain sketches of ‘snail’.              
Running from Home: charcoal on paper : 2001

Snail is a metaphor of human life. It represents the process of fetus being ready to enter this world. Like, in ‘Run from Home’, a shell is seen living shell. Shell is the protective, secure shelter for tender snail, so also a mother’s womb for her child, but as both come out of their secure abode, both has to protect themselves from the dangers of this world. The end is unavoidable. Innocence is lost in the battle survival instinct. 

To bifurcate the human tendencies and especially between male and female; the series is followed by characterizing each of them. Women as one of the recurrent theme, is shown in various roles that she plays in her real life The look and physical presentation portrays her as indomitable personality, well aware of her sensuality, affectionate attitude and power to win the situation by hook or crook. The nudes of women in the series do not show her as reticent but a confident woman. Like in ‘Sweet knife’ which reminds us that right from the birth bosom is 
inseparable from life.
Sweet Knife : Acrylic colour on canavas : 2002
It has magical, soothing charm for a child as well as grown up. On the other hand ‘Woman with knife’ is an excellent work of woman being a sweet poison posing sensually for selfish motive. The bleak side is painted in ‘Seven Desires’. She has many expectations from her man, but has to be satisfied with whoever is her partner. But there is always a prince charming; he is shown riding on a white horse, portraying her unfulfilled desires. Along with, Tathi also paints ‘Motherhood’, a very possessive and emotional nature of any and every woman.  So for Tathi she is sharp as a knife or blade, piercing like (safety) pin, she is cutting edge scissor, a toy duck, protruding end of every other soft toy or every character that we think of.                                           
Love of Mother Series  : Acrylic colour on canavas : 2004
Women is followed by Man. Man is portrayed using blue color and peacock. He is shown in his best in nude; always charming and attractive. Tathi feels that male is more attractive than female. The sketches and paintings are simple and do not have any unfathomable meaning. According to him male’s tall, robust and attractive self and sensuality of woman always attract and repel each other. They work as two blades of a scissor, which if separated are of no use. The attraction and repulsion keeps life going on. 

Man Man Made : Acrylic colour on canavas : 2004
Moving further, Tathi started working upon more socially concerned theme and in that, first was to deal with ‘cruel and cruelty’. The brutality of human on weaker sections and even dumb animals, the sacrifice of innocent animals all are boldly expressed in his works. In one of the work ‘Human Conservation’ man makes rabbit a meal of panther, an example of brutality against animals. Moving further in ‘You and Us’ and ‘Any answer please’ was the visual statement on then on going war between America and Iraq and the brutality that common man had to face. The false pride and ego to excel are considered responsible for havoc in the world, disturbing the peaceful existence. 
After chaos, there dawns serenity and peace in his ‘Ananda’ series. 

Ananda : Acrylic colour on canavas : 2004
Brown, black and white colors are highlights of this series which depicts Nirvana or Nothingness. The stage of attaining eternity, the beauty and depth of the subject is intensified with the mystical style; faces are blurred and flowing robe act as catalysts. As Buddha always said, do not follow me but follow your own conscience, ,in ‘The wall’ wall is the ego, the blind faith and restriction of personal contemplation which should be broken to transcend from materialistic thoughts to spiritual ones. Then there are fables of Ananda that Tathi presents in visual forms.

Mohandas Karamchand Ghandhi : Acrylic colour on canvas : 2006

By 2008 Tathi transcended to wider platform to notice the changes that take place in society due to technological development and political fervor. He continued working for about three to four years on two series consecutively. The two series simultaneously deal with political and technological progress. As two sides of same coin he shows the development of rise in standard of living for some and curbing hopes and desires of survival of the poor labor class. The series were names ‘Indian Mathematical Ruler I’ and ‘Indian Mathematical Ruler  II’ 

Who Let the Dog :The Indian Mathematical Ruler- 1 : 2005
These series speak for people, places and conditions found around us. The colors also speak of emotions and there is deliberate use of particular color scheme which changes in every frame to create a lasting impact. The sarcasm of Indian political scenario is subtly shown in paintings with Asoka pillar and Ambassador cars in place of horses. Ambassador car, representative of politicians in paintings, is shown as proffering benefits to the possessor, just like the cow for its owner. He pin points the worst affected, the labor class who had to lose their wages to the mechanical world. The Ambassador car is seen in various angles being present at the places which would help gain huge monetary gains and mostly in industrial zones.

God of Small things : The Indian Mathematical Ruler - 2 Acrylic on canvas :2007
The color red is hyper sexual urge. Different colors and style of headdress represent people from different communities. The Ambassador car is seen in various angles being present at the places which would help gain huge monetary gains and mostly in industrial zones.
These two series have to be contemplated together as there is a very thin line that discriminates them but every work has different guideline to follow. His paintings present gauche ideas in convincible manner. The painting of welcoming of every one despite of any caste or creed, at Red Light Street is the reality. It makes one wonder whether it is a sign of brotherhood! The apathy of non- reaction to destruction of evangelist, the Lord Buddha's statue in Afghanistan is a clear indication of indifferent attitude to preserve the best. The confusion and chaos is compacted to busy street in Mumbai.
The works records true face of civilization. It constantly fluctuates like the under currents in river but what remains obscure is the motive.

Open Heart for earthworm: Acrylic on canvas 48x 96" 2008
Then follows ‘Open Heart for earthworm’ in which Tathi has comes a long way in his creation of artworks. His horizons seems to expand and even though the concepts were still grooved out of realism here we find him representing the series in more advanced manner and experimenting in  photography, installations and merging the mediums of expressions. It visually and ideally seems to be more matured work and speaks of contemporary situation in sarcastic, humorous and satirical manner. His work is based on the back drop of current issues and problems faced universally. It speaks people’s mind, not just to make aware of reality but make people think over it again and again; it stimulates to evoke reaction in the minds of observers.  The works not only appeal the thought but evokes reaction in mind of an observer. The name itself suggest sarcasm. It represents Government apathy to disheartened public. The public is represented n the form of an ass. Political leaders do make an ass of people and let them bray for their rights which are cleverly and clearly ignored by the people in power. Gandhism is used as a weapon of ruling class which acts as a catalyst in reducing the pain and suffering. 

The Indian Dhobi : Digital print on Eco - Fine paper : 24x36 ' :  2009

In the recent years, Tathi concentrated on Mumbai city and has offered his best tribute to the city folks through his work. His work ‘Indian Dhobhi Ghat’ and  ‘Clip Hanger’ are sharp knives cutting through the saddening reality of Mumbai dweller, whether the original folk or the migrated folks. He has been living in Mumbai since twenty years and has seen lot of changes since then. Like any layman in the city even Tathi travel regularly by train and moves around in the most busy yet reputed areas in Mumbai. Local trains provide him a lot of material to paint. 
Clip Hanger Body : Digital print on Eco - Fine paper : 24x36 ' :  2010
‘Clip Hanger’ are entirely his eye witness of places and situations in Mumbai. The works are unique in itself as they are the blend of modern technique and ancient features. He confidently ventured Digital Art, and by revolving the images in all direction gave it a kaleidoscopic form where bits and pieces of life are reflected off tiny mirrors to create beautiful, mandala-like images that shift and change, depending on where you point it. Tathi’s images are visually striking at first glance. Then, as you move in to look more closely, you begin to see the bits and pieces of life from the artist’s native India that give this work its power and depth. According to Tathi “You can see this same kind of visual imagery in Buddhist and Hindu temples in the form of murals and divinity paintings,” 

Indian Dhobhi Ghat is the visualization of a huge public laundry which is next to Mahalaxmi station and lovingly called – Dhobhi Ghat. It is not a huge,
grand structure made by any ancient king or reputed business man of modern day, it’s a simple structure built for washing clothes. The clothes are brought there from all over Mumbai. He highlights the precision, time-management skill and logistically well organized working system of these illiterate yet seasoned workers. It’s organizational set-up is nothing less than the curriculum learnt at the reputed management institutes. Only differences between white collared jobs at management level and this age old attraction is the outer appearance and educational degree, else the aim of profession for both is- Perfection.
(Recent Drawings by Tathi Premchand- Mumbai)

Tathi says “This Dhobi Ghat is a kind of institute for me.” He analysis this throughout the series and presents it as a learning centre. 
Every bundle of clothes has an identity mark of the supplier or the main laundry from where it is brought here. But when opened and left scattered all the clothes and lining are dirty and crumpled which have to be laundered to look clean and be ready for use again. For this process a dhobi or a washer man doesn’t need a degree or big fat books to update his knowledge; everyday practice and sound knowledge of colors, clothes and their longevity guides him to handle each of them carefully. That's great! It’s metaphoric representation of today’s society.
The place rises rhetorical question to one grave thought that personality (here artist deliberates on corrupt and vice person who have clean image in public) is projected in their clean and stainless dress code. Times have changed corruption has entered the very root of the society. Every field is tainted. Is there any one to play the role of washer man to clean our souls? We all are waiting for the Godot and hope he comes.Tathi wants to preserve and make this site know to people from every nook and corner of the world. This series is his heartfelt attempt. There is a maze effect where a novel person ought to get confused and missing. The photographs of actual site with washer men and the work process, the water outlets and inlets work as energy to revitalize the shine of clothes which can also mean that there should be some system in our society which would drain off evils and bring in purity and goodness of thoughts and actions. And this is not limited to any particular strata of the society but to every global citizen.

Tathi says “I wish to make this place and the artisans here immortal. Like the washer men who clean the clothes, let our souls be cleansed too. As they handle each cloth without bias, so let our political theory be- equal justice to all. There is some power in their skill that people prefer to wash their dirty lining here than washing it in machines. Doesn’t this subtly mean cleansing society and self in most natural way?”

This unusual place of muse speaks volumes about society itself right from ancient times to modern day. In brief, washer men for dirty linings…anyone to cleanse the dirty souls? 

Clip Hanger body series highlights the people-filled local trains of Mumbai. Traveling in the city’s trains, clicking images at random, Premchand found a particular theme that captured his imagination: he noticed how people seemed to calmly “hang” from the clips, or handles, as the train traveled from station to station. Tathi saw these travelers as almost immune to the noise, the smells and the uncomfortable jostling as the train takes on more passengers. It’s as if upon entering the train, passengers are lulled into what Premchand imagines as their mutant selves – into “Clip Hanger Bodies” – as they peacefully make their way throughout the city of Mumbai. They seem to put all the weight on that little handle and relax in rush and crowd. It reminds of the disturbed child who finds comfort and solace lying on mother’s lap. Every person is in his world of thoughts. Some people find it a place to chit-chat and gossip, vent out their furry on other fellow travelers and yet there is feeling of unity in helplessness. Mumbai local is a true representation of  city’s spirit.
(Recent Drawings by Tathi Premchand- Mumbai)

Tathi Premchand presents Mumbai as an ever-changing city and despite cultural, economical and political influences, it has the fortitude to bear the changes and yet establish itself firmly as a city of importance. His imagery is beautiful and mesmerizing but at the same time carries a much deeper message for those who take the time to look more closely.

He cleverly juxtaposes the images. Art critic Shramista Maiti analysis that he captures  the spirit of being and joy of freedom by juxtaposing the photographic images of the travelers moving inside the local train as ethereal subjects. Thus each digital painting/print on archival paper is an ensemble of elements that resemble human bodies but give the feel of ethereal beauty as if music in the air; ripples of the water, mysticism of Sufi songs and so on
Technically this series is developed by using graphics software, he creates three more images of the same photograph but in three reverse directions – one just 180 degrees upside down, one 90 degree turn to left and the third one is 180 degree reverse of the last one. And then he combined the original image and these three images together as required creating the ethereal pattern as if reflections of human body floating on a surreal plane.

‘India's Koodafication on Moon’ is also created in same manner and deals with the problem of garbage that is collected in the galaxy due to remains of satellites and rockets’ and  which cannot be cleaned up. They float in the atmosphere, thus polluting the sky. The creation is visually appealing and makes observer worry about the future of the Universe. The most delightful matter in pursuing such creation as Tathi himself states, “You are not aware of what you are going to create quite consciously. What happens is in a flow things start falling in place. And at the end you can see something that you would have never thought of creating. Well, that’s the magic of creation and the potential of the digital medium and artists with a freaky sense of adventure like me would just love to do so…”

After capturing all the hurries and worries of everyday life, Tathi escapes in the relaxing and joyful atmosphere of Goa, sketching the most luring and appealing scenes right from sea side goa every day life, But that is just a temporary change. Even though it is very relaxed involvement...

(Recent Drawings by Tathi Premchand- Mumbai)
he is surely thinking of exploring new shores, because he has himself proved since in his ten years work  that ‘one cannot step twice in the same water’ and has always been trying to present his concepts in novel and striking mediums. He already start  work on installations, huge canvases or sculpting that be processing coming years. But one thing is sure he wants to go global and showing his art in every living conman human life from where artist live - Pankaja JK


  1. Tathi ,I like "mam made man" and Bird with Dragon fly! Dhobi is also good!


Thanks for comment JK