JJ Valaya has been the pin-up boy of the fashion world since 1992. Over two decades of being the couture king and ruling the bespoke, statement, luxurious designs; the design house of Valaya is a brand to reckon with. Hailing from Chandigarh and proud of the same, Valaya is now out with his photography exhibition in which the architectural elegance of Chandigarh can be viewed from the designer’s lens.
Valaya’s romance with the camera is an open secret, since his first exhibition, Decoded Paradox, was held in 2011, that captured his personal association with New Delhi. Now, the ace designer is back with his second photography exhibition, titled The Soul in the Space (A Journey of Architectural influences), to be held from October 31 to November 24 at Gallery Nature Morte in Delhi. This time around, Valaya is both more abstract and more personal. His photographic captures centre on the architecture of three locations that are imperative to his life’s history: Jodhpur (the city of his birth), Chandigarh (the city where he was raised), and Dufftown, Scotland (where he first discovered architectural photography during an artist’s residency).
In a candid chat, Valaya (a 1983 batch pass-out from YPS, SAS Nagar) talks about his Chandigarh association.
“Chandigarh holds a special place in my heart, as I spent my years as a teenager here and studied in Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar. One went through the usual growing up pangs and teenage angst. I was creatively inclined and flourished in art at school. Painting was my forte and on many occasions, I was adjudged the best artist at school. The artistic journey that I have undertaken is a more personal one and I am only glad that I took it!
When I came to Chandigarh from Jodhpur, I felt that the royal grandeur of the latter was gently blended with the mortality and simplicity of the City Beautiful. I feel that any art has to be fearless and honest. The expression that thus emerges can either be liked or hated, but most certainly it will not engender indifference. Architecturally speaking, Le Corbusier’s urban planning of Chandigarh stands out in one’s memory. The aesthetics that he has employed in this first planned city of the country after India’s independence, make for a beautiful capture.
Well, I don’t think I can predict what lies ahead, but I definitely see myself picking up my oil paints again and perhaps getting creative with mix medium. Our flagship store is all set to have one floor dedicated to interiors by March next year, so I definitely feel that my inspiration is getting enriched as I move ahead. It is the execution that takes time!
Here’s wishing the designer many more media of expression of his sublime art and the best for his part dedication to Chandigarh — the City Beautiful!