Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The JNAF and the CSMVS are delighted to have Atul and Anju Dodiya join us at the Museum, on the 10th of June

The JNAF and the CSMVS  are delighted to have Atul and Anju Dodiya join us at the Museum, on the 10th of June, to share the story of their artistic journey over the years. "Every Journey has a Story" will have audio visual presentations by both artists for 45 minutes each, followed by a question and answer session. The event provides us with another perspective on the exhibition " The Journey is the Destination" of which their work is a part.
Join us on the 10th of June, 2016 at the Visitor's Center, at 6pm. Tea will be served at 5.30pm.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cityscapes by artist Qadirunnisa

Series of paintings by Ms. Qadirunnisa titled ‘Mindscape’, has cityscapes. Her sensitive nature reads city as a ‘personality with certain characteristics’. She is inspired to paint only on the theme of city. City theme arouses her artistic impulse. Her dedication to this theme can be versed as:
O City! Your belying appearance cripes me, for I find in you subtle goodness hidden. I owe you so much that I vow to reveal this nature of yours in my creations…

Though the series is called cityscapes, it illustrates and highlights on the environment and nature of city in abstract form with the use of different colours. Geometric forms are used as supporting gestures. The forms clearly indicate artist’s love for architecture. Architectural theme excite her to paint. According to her there is ignored but inescapable nature hidden in the hustle bustle of city and precisely this is captured in the paintings. 

Recent work by Artist Qadirunnisa 

The paintings are composed in shades of blue, dapples of red in geometric forms, white and green maculation. Cities are man-made, developed to make it adaptable for human survival. But it is amazing how these are developed on different terrains. Being an enthusiastic traveller, she has toured many countries of Asia and the locations have affected her work. Generally natural beauty, in animate and inanimate forms are never highlighted in cityscapes as done in landscapes, but only the infrastructure is painted in it.  Ms. Qadirunnisa least bothers to paint such images, instead she regards and presents the brighter side of the city’s nature.

Recent work by Artist Qadirunnisa 

Her paintings are very simple to understand due to the colour compositions based on her interpretations.  In this series, there is a prominent use of colour blue and its shades. It represent nature’s elements like water and sky, the darker shade is the tangible aspects of city whereas light blue shade displays intangible aspects. Between this free flowing pixels pattern of blue, there are forms in red colour. Red is stimulating colour and represent excitement and energy, it symbolises warmth; the affectionate nature of city. Green patches are feeling of safety and prosperity. White circles are the open space and tranquillity that can be seeked in the bustling spaces.   Overall, these artworks perfectly represent aplomb nature of cities. Black and white paintings are just like the images of cities that resurge in mind of Ms. Qadirunnisa. Observing these images with complete focus and concentration produce a visual illusion of city in motion.

For artist Qadirunnisa city is not different from open lands with scenic beauty. It comprises all the elements of nature which are hidden in the artificial makeover of the place. Thus, Qadirunnisa’s paintings are brilliant presentations of something omnipresent present, but apparently ignored.

By Pankaja JK (Art Blogazine.com)


Why We Need to Go Back to Our Studios? Coz the Institutions are Fooling Artists with Nonsense- Johny ML

Can a laptop and project writing replace studio practice? If yes, we need not look elsewhere for embodied foolishness says Johny ML in this Editorial.

A lap top, a plug point, a few search windows, a Microsoft word page and a tremendous amount of confidence to translate confusion into a legible thousand word aspiration, with a couple of referees to give patronising recommendation letters- that’s how these days a young contemporary artist works. His/her studio is a foldable and packable one. Each one among this new breed of artists believes that art could happen in writing projects and getting funds; if lucky enough, by spending three to six months in a foreign country, hopelessly lost and troubled. When the art market boom was almost over and the galleries and funding agencies once again got onto the confused paths to nowhere, they all started telling the artists to route their art via some foreign institutions; the more residency abroad, the better the chance to find some place in the Indian galleries.
Johny ML

Be it global ecological depletion or be it the impact of migration in the global economy our artists are ready to create art based on all these topics. ‘They fund therefore I am’ that is the new Descartes take of so many young artists in our country. Shielded by thick skin, protected by ignorance and supported by xeno-maniacs who imagine that anything that comes via abroad and endorsed by white skinned curators, gallerists, dealers and promoters, these artists keep writing projects and applying for funds. Some are lucky to befool the funders (they are not really fooled, but they willingly suspend their disbelief for some poetic justice) and go abroad. Some are very clever who write projects according to the nature of funding. I have seen artists trying to write projects for something related to Jewish history- they are damn rich, they say. I have seen artists making their silly videos and installations so complex that the funder is finally forced to meet the expenses of these artists’ travel and accommodation. Some institutes that teach art tell their students only ideate; that means, they basically teach them how to write applications for funds.
Pablo Picasso in his studio
That means we are basically a bunch of beggars asking for help so that we could impress them with their hands down aesthetics. This scenario also means that as a self deceptive society of artists, we have lost our studio practices. Most of our young artists have forgotten the fact that better art could happen when an artist is in his/her studio. Studio is a place where artists often go to or come back to ideate and practice. Studio practice does not mean that the artist should only sit there and work with whichever medium he/she prefers. Studio is a place where one fine tunes one’s creative process. Movement of the artists from guilds and workshops to studios was a great change in the history of modern art. An artist became modern therefore individualistic with the advent of the idea of studio practice. In his/her studio, an artist assumes the power of God and is never a servant of the master. Studio is also a crucible where the artists’ friends could come in for a cup of tea and have some good conversations. Studio is a window or a frame to understand the external world clearly. That does not mean that an artist needs to be studio bound always. He/she could work from nature; they could travel anywhere in the world. But studio is a place where they bring the world into a graspable reality, on their own terms.
Making a studio was a prime concern of most of the artists during the modern period. For their photographer friends, registering the moments of the artists’ creative frenzy was a major aesthetical achievement. Studios were dingy as a single room as in the case of Vincent Van Gogh or palatial like those of Picasso and Salvador Dali. Narrating the life and works of the artists from within the studios was a part of the modern art historiography. It was difficult for most of the Indian artists to run their own studios during the 20th century. However, we see how they maintained a studio practice; right from Raja Ravi Varma to M.F.Husain. One good thing that happened during the ten years of market boom in Indian contemporary art was that the riches that came along enabled most of the young artists of that time to establish their own studios with moderate as well as state of the art facilities. Today, whether there is market or no market for the artist, most of them work from their studios and they hold these spaces closer to heart.
The confusion that followed the collapse of the art market, as I mentioned before, sent the new entrants into tipsy. The global art market suddenly turned its attention to alternative practices in order to contain any kind of radicalism that would thwart the fundamental principles of the market; demand-supply-profit. Conceptual art became a darling of the western galleries and museums. While the established one ideated from their ‘studios’, the new entrants who did not feel the need for establishing their studio practices started moving around with their lap tops and half baked ideas. Their confusion was worsened by several prime institutions including the JNU Arts and Aesthetics Department that functioned as a distant back office for private museums, art fairs and alternative art establishments. Such establishments have done a great wrong to the young artists in our country by making them believe in ad hoc studio practice by presenting the very making of art as ‘process (of) art’ in makeshift studios or even presenting such studios in the galleries as ‘exhibition projects’.
Salvador Dali in his studio
Was it for transparency or was it just for the heck of being different? I have talked to a lot of artists about their studios and all of them have agreed to the fact that the lack of studio has infused a tremendous amount of ad hoc-ism in their practices. They have been reduced into project writers and fund seekers. Those establishments that support this practice actually once again bring back the ideology of Lord Macaulay who implemented an educational system meant for producing ‘Indian looking and British thinking’ Babus. With no studio practice to hone their skills and further their ideas our young artists have already become the wandering diplomats of the west’s left over aesthetics. We need to resist it by re-establishing our studio practices. Return to studio means return to skill and craft along with creative conceptual thinking. West is tired of its own art and it has already started looking for ethnic art forms (that’s why this sudden interest for tribal and folk art in India shores). Only our studio practice could bring about a new aesthetic. The futuristic and sustainable art practices are to be birthed from Indian art studios and we should be able to define the ‘new global’ art for the world. It does not have anything to do with ‘make in India’ or ‘Make India First’ or anything of that sort. There is no political arm twisting in my exhortation but rather a straight demand for waking up. Though we could say that ‘studio is where artist is’, a lap top, a plug point and ignorance as strength can never be a replacement for the studio practice.
Johny ML
Art Historian, Critic, Curator and Writer
 May 17, 2016 in Editorial Originally published as an editorial in Art Tehelka

Friday, 6 May 2016

Santosh Kalbande installation at Piramal Art Residency

Art Residency always arouse curiosity among artists and art lovers. One such Art Residency workshop, Piramal Art Residency is going on at Thane, where artists from various genres have come together under one roof. Among the painters and installation artists are the five artists-in-residence- Santosh Kalbande, Nidhi Khurana, Rajyashri Goody, Bibhuti Nath and Sitaram Swain who will be displaying their on- the-spot creations, initiated on-site at the Piramal Vaikunth premises.


Artist : Santosh Kalbade 

Santosh Kalbande is well known for his artworks made from match- sticks and he has the knack of moulding the match-sticks in any form, according to his thought and imagination. Here he has applied his material and painting technique to present two valuable social causes.

When I asked him about the thoughts, he told me that he was unsure what he would do after coming here. For first two days he cleansed his mind and soul of any stale thought, by absorbing the nature’s energy in abundance on the premises. It’s only after two days when he received a forwarded story of a man who unknowing proved himself as the saviour of nature, philanthropist, did Santosh started working on the project made of match-sticks named ‘Routes of roots’


Routes Of Roots  Recent work by Santosh Kalbade at Piramal Art Residency 

The story is, that of an unknown person from Takluj village near Pune, who nurtures the hobby of collecting bags full of custard apple seeds that people cast off after relishing the fruit. He has been doing this since 30 to 35 years. He is in the profession which needs him to travel from his village to Pune and Mumbai on regular basis. So while travelling on the roadways, passing through valleys, he throws these seeds in the valley. Basically, custard apple tree is a deciduous tree and grows in moderate rainfall too, so the seeds germinate and get loaded with fruits. During growing season it sheds leaves, otherwise it is full of green leaves. The scattered seeds of custard apple started showing the fruitful result in few months after this act and now one can find valley on the way to Mumbai Pune full of custard apple trees. So, one contribution of this man is of planting trees and secondly, the most important is the humanitarian or philanthropic act of providing livelihood to the poor aboriginal people who do not have their own lands and farms or any kind of substantial employment.  These aboriginals collect custard apples from the trees, ripen them in organic manner and sell these natural flavoured, healthy fruits to the travellers; obviously at the lower price than quoted at big shopping zones and food marts. This has become a way of their seasonal earning. Even they are not aware of their saviour in disguise of an unknown person.

Santosh has captured the whole gist of the story in his installation. The boxes in the installation display roots; the roots without the planter’s name, yet growing, to do justice to the noble work. The match-sticks’ tips of greyish-black colour are pasted in such a way that it gives the look of innumerable custard apple seeds on the fertile land. In the same box we find triangle painted at the corners, these are the mountains through which the valleys run and where the seeds lie scattered, also a mountain view of already germinated and rooted custard apple seeds in the earth. The green’s light to dark shades also portray the lush green trees.

The artist has also captured the element of nature like birds that add to the scenic beauty and also the chopped trees with their rings clearly depicting the age of the trees. This is shown purposely to bring to the viewer’s notice that we are ignoring nature bluntly and axing the age-old trees for our mean purpose.
See- Saw Recent work by Santosh Kalbade at Piramal Art Residency 

The second artwork, is a ‘See-saw’ (teeter) is visual representation of fast springing up of cement and mortar forest and rapidly diminishing trees. We are cutting down trees in order to make space for our luxurious living; never bothering about the natural habitat of birds and animals. The reality is shown metaphorically using the concept of a teeter (generally known as see-saw), a plaything consisting of a board balanced on a fulcrum; the board is ridden up and down by children at either end. Here Santosh shows the wooden board (log) balanced in a pillar raised for building. A tree trunk is tied to the upper side of the teeter. If we want this earth to be a better place to live in, then it is a high time that we give more importance to conservation of environment and do utmost to save it.

Santosh’s work is a fine example of blending installation and line drawing and painting together for the brilliant presentation of concepts. And moreover, these two concepts were developed at the residency site itself; we can say instant creativity ignited by sharp understanding and the best positioning of match-sticks, by its expert Santosh.   

The whole process of completing these artworks lead to frustration because of innumerous question that haunted his mind about this man’s act of selfless contribution be adopted by the Society for human and nature’s welfare? Do we really need a propaganda for such things? Does the luxury means wiping away that is natural and beautiful to be replaced by artificial show-off. Philanthropy still exist despite of changed social circumstances and so on.


By Pankaja JK (Art Blogazine.com)