Are We Forgetting Our Young Artists 2
Market avarice produces instant successes; art market boom produced many successful artists. Some artists, before they could even think of developing their own creative process were forced to behave like matured artists who had a clear say on anything and everything related to art if not on anything under the sun. Goaded by gallerists, some artists changed their dressing style, behaviour and accent. Gallerists wanted their artists to be ‘cool’ as a way to lure clients into buying their works. Many had become laughing stocks amongst their peer groups and a few had survived. Those who survived took a lot of time to shed the artificial garbs they were forced wear. Many are still in the process deeply immersed in existential dilemma.
Ved Prakash Gupta, an alumnus of sculpture department at Baroda Fine Arts Faculty became Ved Gupta in 2006. Talent spotters had found him out. Threshold Gallery, New Delhi, director Tunty Chauhan was the first one to spot his talents. After finishing his MFA in sculpture, Ved Gupta did not get enough time to sit and ruminate. By the time he was out of the Fine Arts Faculty, art market players had decided his future course. His stocky figures, caricatured versions of business men, politicians and all greedy people, made out of painted fibre glass had attracted many collectors to this young artist. For almost six years he went on making these caricatures. He was adjudged as a ‘humorous’ artist. Ved himself was turning into a humorous figure as he was trying to put on accent and adopting an artificial living style.
In 2008, Threshold Gallery gave him the first solo show after presenting Ved in different group shows. Careful manipulations and planning had got him a few awards in 2007 and those awards were absolutely different from the merit scholarships that he had received as a student in the fine arts faculty. Ved kept on doing the stocky human figures till he reached another passion of his in 2008-09; depiction of Dalmatian dogs. His sculptural ensembles started showing these polka dotted fibre glass dogs along with the human caricatures. I remember him over painting the fenders of his new car with Dalmatian dots in order to tell the world that he lives his art. A few Mumbai galleries along with Threshold in Delhi promoted Ved as much as they could but never advised him to sit and think or make progress in his art.
The biggest achievement came to Ved when he was asked to present a huge sculpture in India Art Summit (now India Art Fair), Pragati Maidan, Delhi in 2011. Threshold was again behind this large scale sculpture concept. Ved did his job and he did a Jeff Koons act in fibreglass which brought him more than enough news space and publicity. Not a single child who visited India Art Summit that year did not leave the premises without taking a photograph with this huge Dalmatian dog curiously looking at the people who came out of the halls. It was cute and curious. But the question was where could this artist go beyond this? 1975 born Ved became stagnant at the age of 35. Today when Ved’s name is not seen in the exhibitions, not even in the exhibition list of Threshold that had initially promoted him, we wonder where he has gone.
Ved Gupta is Baroda based and I am sure that he must be working very hard to get back to the scene, though the scene itself is trying its best to be around. But where have the former promoters of this artist gone? Why don’t they take the responsibility of this artist and help him to develop a new set of works? What kind of assurance that these art market players have given to the clients who bought Ved’s works? If they have told them that this artist is going to be the next Jeff Koons of India, don’t they have the responsibility of keeping Ved afloat in the art scene? Why all of them have washed their hands and gone? In my opinion fifty per cent of the responsibility lies in Ved’s shoulders too. He was trying to become one which he was not. Art is not film story; rural boy coming to city and striking gold. We have a similar example in Subodh Gupta. But every other artist cannot become a Subodh even if the surname is Gupta. Subodh had worked hard enough to reach where he is today. He is a pre-globalization boy and he learnt the tricks by sitting at Mandi House and sharing autos to parties. Ved was picked up directly from the school when he was not ripe enough. People made money by selling his innocence. It is now their responsibility to bring him back but with a different set of works.
Journey to Traveler’s Zen
Alliance Francaise, Hyderabad presents a solo show of photography works by photographer, Praveen Maloo. The show traces the physical and the spiritual journey undertaken by the photographer during his travels to different places.
Titled ‘Traveler’s Zen’ the show tries to capture each aspect of the photographer's interpretation of his journey, the aspects, the people he has met and who influenced him in various ways are depicted in every single frame shot by him.
Discovery of a truth, seeking outside of himself and inside himself, Praveen’s images transcend visually the mundane landscapes and happy pictures to bring forth a deeper Zen like state in his protagonists and subjects. This gets mirrored in the viewer as well. Maintaining their individuality and essence of existence, Praveen weaves a gentle narrative within this mystical and complex series of photographs.
The show is on view from the 23rd of May till the 3rd of June 2013.
Reviving the Royal Art of Mysore
Shridharini Art Gallery, New Delhi presents a show titled ‘The Royal Art’ by artist Shobhana Udayasankar, who has tried to recapture the ancient and nearly lost art of Mysore.
The Mysore style of painting can be traced back to its origins during the Ajanta times. This distinct school of exquisite painting has been patronised and supported by various kings who ruled Mysore. From the Vijayanagara kings the legacy of this illustrious art form was carried forward by the empire of the Wodeyars. The Mysore style of gold leaf and gesso on burnished wood surface, varies from the Tanjore school in its delicate and lesser relief work on the surface. Rapid urbanisation and cheaper quality of the material used for the art, has seen this enchanting art form slowly diminishing into oblivion.
Shobhana Udayasankar in her series ‘The Royal Art’, has tried to revive this declining art form and displays her beautiful paintings related to mythology and the Hindu deities, in the show.
The show is on view till the 30th of May 2013.
Beat of the Tribal Drums
Novotel Hyderabad Airport at Shamshabad, has an ongoing show of paintings by artist Anuradha Thakur in a show titled, ‘Traditional Beats’. The show presents a series of paintings which depict the artist’s interactions and revelations when she conducted Gond tribal art workshops with the tribals from Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra.
Traditional Beats captures the rhythm and simplicity of the tribal life in primarily monochromatic and some vibrantly coloured and decorative works in figurative style.
The figures in the paintings exude movement and charm in their dance poses and their specially adorned, intricately designed attires. The footwork, the dance steps, the tribal man beating away at the drums and their exclusively designed clothes for each occasion and festivity portrayed in the canvases indicate the artist’s deep involvement in the people and their lives. She has worked with various other Adivasi and tribal communities from Bhuj (Gujarat) and North East of India.
Anuradha is an avid traveler, art teacher, explorer and an innovator apart from being a diligent artist.
The show Traditional Beats is on view till the 23rd of May 2013.
‘Aabru’ against gender violence
Addressing the name tag of Delhi being called the ‘rape capital’ of India, the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi presents a solo show of photographs by photographer Ratan Sonal. The show titled, ‘Aabru’ displays images related to gender violence especially from the capital city, with the intention of shocking the audience and to stir the conscience of the society and law making authorities.
The photographs however brutal and painful to look at, Ratan attempts to portray a reality of today’s urban and rural scenarios with respect to women. He wishes to make the society aware and induce a dialogue through the medium of photography and art, to empower women.
The show addresses a spectrum of chronic gender violence from rape and murder to female feoticide and honour killings. Ratan skilfully tries to bring to the fore the ugly picture and the horrific silences through his well trained lens.
The show begins on the 22nd May 2013 and will be on view till the 28th of May 2013. The show is to be inaugurated by Mr. Badrinath Singh, father of the Delhi rape victim, Nirbhaya.
(News Reports by Sushma Sabnis)