Currently on display at a South Mumbai gallery are iconic works like The Last Supper, The Death of Socrates and Vulcan Presenting Venus. But because the prospect sounds too good to be true, we’ll reveal the catch instantly — they aren’t the originals painted by Da Vinci, David or Boucher.
Instead, they’ve been recreated by a city-based artist, who prefers to call them just ‘similar’.
Daxa Khandwala’s show, ‘Renaissance Avatar — Masters Come Alive’ pays tribute to celebrated artists of the era by reworking their paintings in her own style. And while the artist acknowledges her lack of originality, she insists on the necessity of hard work and passion to pull it off.
“I agree it’s a copy, but it’s not easy to make,” asserts Khandwala, adding, “One has to understand the feeling that went into making the original painting. Once that feeling comes to me, my hands start moving smoothly. I wouldn’t like to call them copies or replicas — just similar works.”
The artist believes she has a ‘spiritual connection’ with the era depicted in the paintings, which is why she loves recreating them.
“These masters’ works have been my subjects for 25 years now. I can connect with them and the time during which they were produced — the women, their dresses and finery, their culture and the richness of it. It’s as if I once belonged to that world and have come into this life to rediscover it,” she says, citing Da Vinci and Boucher as her favourite artists.
Khandwala’s works are mostly oil on canvas, but there are five using acrylic on marble too.
Ask her to point out the differences between her works and the originals and she promptly replies, “I’ve put more details on the faces. The clothes, hands and legs also have been defined further. The rest remains like the original.”
If these starkly ‘similar’ works are not enough, Khandwala next wants to pay a similar tribute to icons of Indian art, but remains tight-lipped about whose works inspire her most: “I don’t want to reveal their names yet. But they will all be masters from India.”