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Colour, cows and nudity

A look at ongoing art exhibitions by masters and amateurs alike that promise to keep you captivated.

art and culture Updated: Mar 19, 2010 01:44 IST

The Decorated Cow
Artist: Sidharth
Claim to fame: The artist has held 18 solo shows and participated in more than 80 group shows. His works are part of collections at the Indian Government Museum, the Dusseldorf Museum among others.
Theme: Quirky, yet rife with meaning, the exhibition takes a look at the plight of abandoned cows in a society that worships them. In one canvas, a cow can be seen sitting in a Nandi-like pose, larger than life in the middle of a traffic jam. Another interesting painting is Diner, that show how every part of a cow’s body — breast, rib etc — is consumed in the West. “This is the cow mocking us,” says the artist. “In India, we believe that 108 deities reside in different parts of a cow, and look at how we treat it.”
Coolest display: Poster Cow: A life-size cow made of fibre glass and covered with wrappings and stickers of milk products from around the world — Mother Diary (Indian), Happy Cow (Denmark) and Laughing Cow (Sweden), among others.
The artist says: “We worship her as Gaumata and what do we feed her? Plastic. Studies show that a cow has several kgs (kilograms) of plastic inside her that choke her to death. I painted one such cow and that was enough to make me sick. That’s why the cows in my paintings are healthy.”
Price: Rs 60,000 - Rs 24 lakh
On till: April 13
At: Religare Arts.i, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Connaught Place
— Damini Purkayastha

A Cry from the Narrow Between
Artists: Chinese artist Han Bing and Mumbai-based artist Tejal Shah
Claim to fame: Han Bing gives live performances in a near-naked state, where he explores the power of eroticism, passion and violence to convey the shifting values in Chinese society. Shah, a gay artist, started working on queer lives in the Indian context in 2005-2006. In the hijra fantasy photo series, she has made use of multiple mediums such as photography, video installation, text-based works and sound works to convey what they want to become.
Theme: Erotic and quirky, this exhibition that goes beyond the mundane themes and issues, takes a look at things closer to the society yet little talked of. In both artists’ works, the erotic is shown as far more than merely sex, and not a euphemism for the pornographic.
Coolest display: In the photograph Body Heat - Mating season (see picture), Han Bing holds some bricks close to his naked body. He eroticises this tool of manual labour and construction to represent the human cost of urbanisation.
Artist Speak: “After all the wet sari scenes and erotic tensions we often see in movies and other popular culture, Indians are just as capable of conceiving of the erotic as a dimension of human existence as any other people,” says Han Bing.
Price bracket: Rs 2 lakh to Rs 7 lakh
On till: April 3
At: Gallery Espace, 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony
— Aroma Sah

World on a Canvas
Artist: Paresh Maity
Claim to fame: One of India’s most acclaimed artists, he has held over 30 solo shows all over the world.
Theme: Maity has created refreshing works on all the destinations he has travelled to over the years — Kolkata, Kerala, Rajasthan, Varanasi, London, Venice, China, Egypt and Mexico, to name a few. Another interesting part of the show is an installation named Procession, made entirely of motorcycle parts. “It is a procession of ants on a mission depicting their unity and harmony,” says the artist.
Coolest display: Describing the artist’s trip to Rajasthan 20 years ago, this oil on canvas, which is 7x14-feet in size, creates a twilight mood. The artist has used subtle colours, which makes it stand out as compared to his other art works. The painting depicts the silent mood before the celebrations.
Artist Speak: “Travelling fascinates me and nature inspires me. Every place has a different story, element, expression and colours to it. I have been documenting my work since 1983 to come up with exhibition,” says Maity.
Price: Paintings not for sale.
On till: April 15
At: Lalit Kala Akademi, Copernicus Marg
— Aakriti Sawhney

Annual Art Exhibition of the Delhi College of Art
Artists: Students of BFA and MFA courses
Theme: With works by over 50 students on display, the show has mind-boggling variety and colour. There’re conceptual works, sculptures, paintings, and commercial art such as advertisements, posters and banners on display. Video art is also a part of the show and in the evenings, there are art-performances as well.
Artist Speak: “This exhibition gives us a chance to gauge where we stand in the real world. We get an exposure that helps us understand the standard of our work,” says MFA student Shailesh Mohan Ojha.
Price: Rs 5,000 to Rs 1.72 lakh
On till: Last day today
At: Delhi College of Art, Tilak Marg, ITO Bridge
— Puneet Kumar