If you’re in Delhi, you’re never more than half an hour away from an art gallery. This week, we recommend orienting yourself towards India Habitat Centre for Raas-Matazz, an exhibition of paintings by the Delhi-based artist Niladri Paul.
Dancing women, rhythmic strokes, a whole lot of red, passion, movement — Paul’s canvasses capture drama in their frames. “This exhibition is based on the Navarasa theory, the nine emotions that are expressed in art.” Paul explains that his subject is also the fusion of performance and rhythm. “The human body and mind work in perfect rhythm with music. I am exploring that.”
The artist believes that all art forms eventually merge into one, be it music or dance or drama or poetry. And all of these form an integral part of his work.
Paul moved to Delhi in the 90s to work as an art director with Ogilvy and Mather and had his first solo show in the city in 1994 in Hauz Khas. “I had presented monochromes and water colours and the response was fabulous,” he says.
That was a time he recalls as one when art was restricted to the canvas, but now, he says, there are a lot more digital installations and performative arts to be seen in the city. However, he says, “Mumbai has a more professional approach to art. Delhiites see art very differently. They have a very direct approach — they like bright colours. And they have this attitude that what they understand is what is good.”
In Mumbai, people are more experimental, says Paul. “Even regular people there have basic knowledge of non-figurative art. In Delhi, until people see the aakar, the shape of the work, they cannot understand it.”
This, he says, is restrictive for artists who tend to experiment with abstraction. However, “Modernity is coming in and perspectives are changing even in Delhi,” the artist says on an optimistic note.
Paul’s show opens this Wednesday and he says people will love the energy in his canvas. “Add to that the potent visuals, and anyone, not just youngsters, will enjoy the work.” He hopes that “people will feel changed by the movement and the bold strokes in the works”.
Raas-Matazz has been organised by Delhi-based Ragini arts. It will be on display at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, from October 1 to 5.