An octopus with ceramic tentacles signifying the grip of Capitalism; a fibreglass sculpture based on Hindi idioms and a pickle jar laden with mobile phones and keyboards.
At first glance, the show’s avant-garde exhibits grab your attention. Look closer and you realise that the treatment is contemporary but the subjects rooted in tradition. That, says curator Umesh Kumar, is the strength of Rangpurvi, hosted by the Mythili Bhojpuri Academy.
All 43 participants have roots in the Bhojpuri belt that runs through Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The similarity ends there, says Kumar. “In modern art, the artist should evolve a style of his or her own. ”
Actor Shekhar Suman, who inaugurated the show, says the works reflect the confidence of an economically resurgent Bihar. “It will help artists from the state find a niche.” That may not automatically happen, says installation artist Vipul Kumar, whose Capitopus is a tribute to Safdar Hashmi. “Bihar still doesn’t have a progressive artists’ movement such as Baroda or Bengal.”
Rajesh Ram’s Jo Sowat Hai Wo Khowat Hai (one who keeps sleeping, is bound to lose) is inspired by Hindi muhavare (idioms). “My themes are the phrases I heard from elders while growing up Sahibganj, Bihar,” says Ram.
Rajiv Ranjan’s Dadi Maa Ka Achaar is a tribute to the family. “We may be caught in a vortex of technology, work and religious duties but can never forget the intimacy that pickle prepared by the grandmother evokes.”
Rangpurvi is on at Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Akademi, till April 4