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How to lose friends?

Artist Himanshu S has ruffled quite a few feathers by questioning the importance given to our art stalwarts, reports Gitanjali Dang.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 04:13 IST

Who’s that guy?

Himanshu S is a 26-year-old who caused a minor flutter with his first solo exhibition in October. Ironically titled Least Likely To Succeed, the exhibition tried — in its own way — to reassess the importance some Indian artists have been given. The works, on display at Jehangir KS Nicholson Gallery at National Centre for the Performing Arts, launched a merciless parody attack on several artists, including MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Surendran Nair and Atul Dodiya, questioning both the nature of their art and the economics of art in general.

Is that all?

Himanshu has also been teaching art history and “a bit of philosophy” at LS Raheja College and Rachna Sansad School. He also makes excursions to Aurangabad and Pune universities. Knowing his penchant for subversion, it comes as no surprise that he enjoys rattling the professors.

Impressive. How did he manage that?

An alumnus of JJ School of Art, Himanshu was one of the initial members of a group of artists called Lazy Rebels. But the Lazy Rebels, now disbanded, were not too lazy when it came to galvanising plans. They got individuals from different disciplines together and exhibited their works in places other than galleries. Himanshu’s involvement with the group is telling of the direction he has chosen.

So what’s next?

Himanshu and his friends, some new and some of the old Lazy Rebel bunch, are getting together to create a “common room”. The common room would function like a laboratory where they will create, break, mend and discuss the arts. This space-to-be would also be a breeding ground for new projects and other independent activities. Its tentative address is a chawl in the Lower Parel. Thus, the space would stand at a great distance from the pristine gallery spaces across Mumbai. But, more matter-of-factly, it also happens to be one of the few places they can afford.

Do tell him:
Let’s take a re-look at Indian art history.

Don’t tell him:
Why did an ex-Lazy Rebel and an artist questioning the nature of institutions (read galleries) collude with gallery space for his first solo?

Email Gitanjali Dang: gitanjali.dang@hindustantimes.com