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Art walk at St Regis Mumbai an ode to Indian masters

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Oct 09, 2015 20:10 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
St Regis,HT48Hours,SH Raza
Benaras, Oil on canvas: On the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi by Manu Parekh (Kalpak Pathak/ Hindustan Times )

The St Regis Mumbai, which opened in September this year, replacing the erstwhile Palladium Hotel, boasts of an envious collection of artwork. The best part: they are on display in their lobby and can be viewed for free at their bi-weekly art walk.

Around 75 paintings and sculptures are spread through their lobby, bar, library and first floor. It includes masterpieces by stalwarts like SH Raza, MF Husain, NS Bendre, Jogen Chowdhury, Paresh Maity and others.

The extensive collection is curated by Tushar Sethi, director, The Arts Trust — Institute of Contemporary Indian Art and art collector Gayatri Ruia. We attended a session of The St Regis Mumbai Art Tour conducted by Aditi Rampal, guest relation manager at the hotel. Read on for the highlights:

Krishen Khanna, Untitled, Oil on canvas

Artist Krishen Khanna had never seen his grandfather. But from what he heard from his parents, he knew that he was a great writer and philosopher. This is the depiction of what Khanna thought his grandfather looked like.

Satish Gujral, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas

Untitled, Acrylic on canvas (Kalpak Pathak/ Hindustan Times)

Satish Gujral developed a technique that emulates the rough texture of mud walls, which he began using on canvases in the ‘60s. This work depicts a warrior and a horse symbolising courage and power. The figures have a voluminous body and a small head.

Jogen Chowdhury, Faces, Mixed media on paper

Chowdhury is known to capture the expressions of people. A closer look shows that the portraits have crosses. This process of shading an area with intersecting sets of lines is known as cross-hatching. The images are made using lead and pencil.

MF Husain, Untitled, Acrylic on wood cutout

When MF Husain’s first daughter was born, he noticed the child was not amused by his art. To entertain her, he started making wooden toys. Years later, he tried to recreate those wooden toys on canvas, which resulted in this series of nine images.

Manu Parekh, Benaras, Oil on canvas

On the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, Manu Parekh was cremating his father. At the other end, he saw a wedding take place and the ritual of tonsuring. He realised that in the course of life — happiness and sorrow exist side by side.

SH Raza, Untitled, Prints on canvas

Artwork by artist SH Raza have a typical motif of the bindu or circle. The first painting uses the colours blue and green to depict nature intermingling with the universe. In the second painting, you see a prominent black aura with orange and yellow in the backdrop, denoting the artificial or plastic elements mixing with the natural world.

GR Iranna, The St Regis Mumbai Mural, Watercolour on canvas

The St Regis Mumbai Mural, Watercolour on canvas (Kalpak Pathak / Hindustan Times)

This mural has been created specifically for St Regis. It depicts how the city has evolved, and denotes elements synonymous with Mumbai. It includes images of Amitabh Bachchan shooting for Coolie, Aamir Khan in a scene from PK, singer Lata Mangeshkar, kaali peeli (black and yellow) taxis, dabbawalas and dishes like pani puri.

Paresh Maity, Wheeling the World, Wood

Wheeling the World, Wood (Kalpak Pathak / Hindustan Times)

This sculpture by Paresh Maity is a four-headed human-animal figure and an adaptation of a toy on wheels that could be pulled by a string. Maity spent his childhood in a village called Tamluk in West Bengal where such toys were crafted by parents for children. This four-headed horse watches over all directions. It is made in such a way that from any place in the hall, it will still look proportionate.

Take the walk

What: The St Regis Mumbai Art Tour is held every Wednesday and Friday.

Where: At St Regis Mumbai, above Palladium mall, Lower Parel.

Call: 6162 8000

First Published: Oct 09, 2015 00:00 IST