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Telling stories through art

An exhibition by artist Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh displays the art of Kaavad, which tells stories through paintings.

art and culture Updated: Oct 09, 2011 01:32 IST
Chetna Dua

Artist Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, who is based out of Vadodara, is exhibiting the best of his works painted over the past 10 years at the Vadehra Art Gallery this month.

A series of six works on Kaavad forms the major part of the exhibition. A Kaavad, or a mobile wooden shrine, is a traditional object containing painted narratives, which travelling performers like the Kaavadiya Bhats of Rajasthan used as a prop for their storytelling. As the storyteller narrates his story, he would open the doors of the Kaavad to reveal a new layer, building anticipation for the sight of the inner core. “I have used scenes from my mythology and my travels around the world to depict different ideas,” says Sheikh. For example, his Kaavad titled, Journey, includes motifs of maps, colonial ships and the character Majnu in search of his beloved Laila. Other Kaavads in the series are Virag or Ayodhya, Alpha, Musings and Miscellaneous and Migration.

The highlight of the exhibition is the Kaavad titled, Home. The 8 foot high and 24 foot wide master art piece premiered at the exhibition, Chalo India: A New Era of Indian Art, at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2008. The panels depict different things that mean ‘home’ to the artist.

Sheikh has used the 13th Century circular map of the world, in which the world was visualised in the form of the body of Christ, to depict his favourite places in the world. From lake and houses reminiscent of his hometown in Baroda to painting his birthplace Sundernagar in Gujarat and saints of different cultures, the panels have a varied view. “For me, home is what you connect to. So, I have also included places from the world which I relate to,” says Sheikh. He has also included digital quotes of paintings by artists from around the world including his favourite Italian artist Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Catch him here What: Artworks by Gulam Mohammed Sheikh When: 12th to 24th October; 11am to 7pm Where: Art works at Rabindra Bhavan, 35 Ferozeshah Road; Digital Books and Prints at Vadehra Art Gallery, D-40, Defence Colony