Tuesday 9 August 2022

The exhibition curated by senior art critic and curator Uma Nair presents 30 artworks of indigenous art of the Gonds.

 Press Release

1st August – 20th August, 2022

11am – 7 pm




Curator Uma Nair 


Aakriti Art Gallery presents a solo show Van Katha, of prolific Gond artist, Padma Shri Bhajju Shyam who initially worked as a watchman before becoming an apprentice to his uncle, the artist Jangarh Singh Shyam. Shyam nurtured his artistic talents by filling in the figures and patterns on his uncle’s canvases until he was ready to create his own works. These works have been created exclusively for this show at Aakriti Art Gallery in Kolkata.

Ref No. C1068  - Kaaga - Arylic on paper - 30 x 22 in  - 2017

The exhibition curated by senior art critic and curator Uma Nair presents 30 artworks of  indigenous art of the Gonds. Bhajju is an artist with an exceptional talent for unique narrative experimentation with forms and creates a definite statement of installing  traditional Gond art into a contemporary platform. The exhibition also features Gond art, in a series of stories that throb within the creatures of the forest. The 20 paintings on canvas and 10 works on paper displayed are unique expressions of Bhajju's mind and imagination and encapsulate the history and contemporary times of the regions. The artworks are significant for their historic and academic relevance as well as for their aesthetic value.


Curator Uma Nair says: "Bhajju's world of forest tales stems from traditionally-inspired narratives that have been passed through the ages, transforming simple subjects into sacred beings. Themes of tradition and simple beliefs… are clearly comprehended in all the works and sketches displayed. But through it all we glimpse a love of trees and nature. Bhajju is important for the many stories he tells as well as his finesse with creating Darwinian dialogues in Indian indigenous intuition. The birds, the horses, the swine, the elephant all throb in the rhythms of the forest. The show in many ways extols the truth of the great Hermann Hesse when he said: ' Trees are sanctuaries.'


The genre in this suite goes back to century old traditional knowledge which has been passed down generations. Requiring a distinct approach and understanding, often varying from the modern sensibility, indigenous art speaks a language that invites exploration and discovery in the simplicity of beliefs of the life cycle. The visual representation presents a refreshing lexicon of motifs, compositions and styles. The show opens on 30th July 2022 and runs till August 20th 2022.

Award winning artist Shyam’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums around the world, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Galleria Arteutopia, Milan and the Museum of London, London. Shyam has also published several books including the award winning book The London Jungle Book which was published in 2004 and translated into Italian, Dutch, French, Korean and Portuguese. Shyam was the first Gond artist to work with the St+art India Foundation, painting a mural in the Lodhi Art District, New Delhi. In 2018, Shyam was awarded the Padma Shri for his contributions to art.


Curator Uma Nair


An art critic for 32 years and a curator for two decades, Uma Nair has a special connection with artists from the Bengal School. She discovered Paresh Maity, Sanjay Bhattacharya and Sudip Roy in the 1990s. She wrote the first book Paresh Maity at 25 years in 2005.She has curated a number of solo exhibitions of these artists.

Her major work with Bengal School artists has been select retrospectives of Gopal Ghose (2015 Kumar Gallery), Jamini Roy (2016 Dhoomimal Gallery), Prodosh Dasgupta ( 2020 Akar Prakar ). She curates solo show after following an artist for at least ten years. Her next show is Muzaffar Ali's 50 year retrospective at Bikaner house in Delhi January 2023.


For more details about the show, please get in touch with Komal Jaiswal at artshop@aakritiartgallery.com / +91 9830411116. The show can also be viewed at www.aakritiartgallery.com

Aakriti Art Gallery

Orbit Enclave, 1st Floor

12/3A, Hungerford Street

Kolkata – 700 017

Phone: +91 33 22893027/5041

( Sunday Closed )

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Thanks for comment JK