Catch the city exhibition that is taking folk art into tomorrow | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Catch the city exhibition that is taking folk art into tomorrow

Nine master folk artists are showing some of their finest works, featuring new ideas and approaches, at the Jehangir art gallery.

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2017 22:31 IST
Riddhi Doshi
A brass bronze alloy by Suresh Waghmare Shikaar.
A brass bronze alloy by Suresh Waghmare Shikaar.
Spirit of India
  • WHERE: Jehangir art gallery, MG Road, Kala Ghoda
  • WHEN: August 31 to September 3, 10 am to 6 pm
  • CALL: 2284-3989
  • ENTRY IS FREE

It’s unfortunate, but true. India’s rich folk art practices are often reduced to mere decoration or home décor.

To change this perception and make space for folk art in mainstream art, nine master folk artists show some of their finest works with new ideas and approaches at the Jehangir art gallery.

It features Rajasthani and Mughal miniatures, Molela terracotta and Pichwai from Rajasthan, Pattachitra from Orissa, Gond from Madhya Pradesh, Mata Ni Pachedi from Gujarat, Gadhwakam from Chattisgarh; and Kalighat painting from Bengal.

A terracotta sculpture by Jamnalal Kumbhar.

An impressive, minutely detailed, Kalighat painting engages you immediately and for quite some time, even though it’s in black-and-white. “Sometimes too many colours can be jarring,” says Anwar Chitrakar. “Using black and white in different shades is definitely challenging, but also make for sophisticated work, and that’s what I aim to achieve.”

A Pichwai work by Sushil Soni Gopasthami.

Padmashree Shakir Ali, an expert miniaturist, has kept it subtle too and so fine that you’ll need a magnifying glass to see the details painted with a single-hair brush. Ali tells stories about modern times, interspersed with mythological tales and Mughal portraits. One of his paintings depicts the Islamic concept of heaven and hell, and talks of the importance of good deeds. “I think in times like today it’s important to remind people to be good humans,” says Ali.

A Gond painting by Venkat Raman Singh.

While the traditional techniques remain the same, the narrative has changed. Gond artist Venkat Raman Singh Shyam talks of gender equality through his works. “Change is the only constant. Back then artists spoke of their immediate neighbourhood and drew elements of nature and stories of Gods,” says Raman. “The times today call for stories about conflict, gender sensitivity and terrorism.”