Two current exhibitions at the Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad showcase the visual experimentation of contemporary artists reflecting on the pandemic, nature and unhurried lifestyles
The paintings by artist Raka Panda, titled Landscape, are not an artistic impression of a breathtaking landscape. Instead, a nameless, faceless sea of people is depicted sitting together or standing, not knowing when or how they will return home. Memories of India’s first lockdown in March 2020 come back in full force as we view Panda’s works at the ongoing exhibition at Hyderabad’s Kalakriti art gallery titled Myth, Memory & Marvelous Realities.
With artists Amit Lodh, Balaji Ponna, Biplab Sarkar, Kiyomi Talaulicar, Laxmipriya Panigrahi, Muktinath Mondal and Vijay Kumar, Panda focuses on the fluidity of memory and how it transforms to create new narratives.
Memories of the first stage of the pandemic aside, artists tap into the tranquil lifestyles of their hometown, the kitsch and comical colors of everyday life, nature in its pristine beauty and transform them into works of art. figurative and abstract art.
Minimalistically, Kiyomi Talaulicar draws our attention to our addiction to masks and the reimposed faith of a handshake, which has become elusive in the age of social distancing. Artist Biplab Sarkar’s ‘Mirror of the Little Things’ features images of men, women and children during the pandemic – of people returning home, frontline workers prepared for their tasks, or a photographer capturing each. mood. Sarkar also comments on the fate of the airline industry in uncertain times and how life has turned into a hazy, gloomy mass of black and gray.
While memories of COVID-19 drive the narrative in some of the paintings, others look at nature and lifestyles. Laxmipriya Panigrahi’s watercolor series, This is Vitality, depicts wilderness and wildlife in all its glory, with a play of light, shadow and attention to detail.
Amit Lodh’s series has a comic book quality as it celebrates different facets of life in vivid hues.
Visual experimentation is also evident in the gallery’s other exhibition, Lost & Found: A Visual Journey, which features works by Claire Iono, Dhruti Mahajan, Ishrath Humairah and Karishma Wadhwa, often veering towards abstraction.
These artists explore geometric abstraction by playing with a myriad of textures, colors and shapes that are very different but which seem to harmonize on their canvases. Humairah’s palette ranges from the burnt orange of the sunsets to emerald greens and black-grays, the landscapes creating a moody atmosphere. Wadhwa’s multi-texture paintings, despite their abstraction, can represent a sea of humanity. Mahajan experiments with geometric shapes while Claire Lono uses abstract landscapes to create surreal time passages.
(Both exhibitions are on view at the Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad, until January 10, and online at kalakritiartgallery.com)