It is an eclectic mix of art techniques, themes and genres that greet the eye at the Annual Art Exhibition at Punjab Kala Bhawan in a vibrant show of form and colour hung on the walls or spread out on the floor. What makes the collection worthy is that there are works by the old guard, younger professionals and students.
The annual show comes with awards in hand for professional artists and students. The three-artist jury comprised Anandmoy Banerjee, Viren Tanwar and Tutu Patnaik, all from New Delhi. The three award-winning works in the professional category compel the eye to reach out to them. These include Manoj Kumar’s sculpture in fibre glass and cloth titled ‘Guardian of Environment’ and B Ravikiran’s collection of small-frame memorabilia of small things, memories and moments in mixed media, ‘I find an unknown person in myself ’. Ajay Kalwania’s photograph of a sewing machine head titled ‘My Mother’s Heritage’ speaks out nostalgically with the thread running across the familiar face down through the eye of the needle.
From the old guard, there is a pleasing and delicately toned painting, ‘Blossom’, and Balvinder Singh paints a train journey that turned into horror at ‘Lala Musa’ railway station in fiery hues. A wall at a construction site with repetitive patterns is the theme of a fine monochrome photograph by Vijay Ozo called ‘Faceless Souls’. S Raj Kumar’s painting ‘Old Man Dreams of Lions’ is think work with an old man clutching on to his gun as he sleeps and a lion pouncing for prey, executed with his characteristic finesse.
Move on and there are two paintings that stand out: A landscape by Pramod Arya capturing the green fields in the blaze of the orange sun and a lone woman walking through a flower-dotted meadow while a scull glistens in her garb.
The wood creative assemblage of the feminine and masculine forms, by sculptor Harpal, spread out on the floor catches the eye as does ‘Allowed5’ by Virendra Kumar Rana in which waste material is employed to give a ‘No Smoking’ message in a larger-than-life cigarette placed on a black mat with tormented and twisted match sticks reaching out to light it.
The children can have some fun tasting toffees from a papier mache installation by Kanwal Pal in which two children are shown ecstatically reaching out to claim their share of candy. Evening means banana time because Subhash Shorey’s installation of painted bricks has a banana atop each one. The exhibition has something for everyone.