Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Splash of Colours and Memories

If the Salar Jung Museum showcased the works of Bombay Progressive Artists — namely Syed Hasan Raza, MF Husain, FN Souza, Ram Kinker Baij, Jamini Roy and others — an art gallery in Jubilee Hills came alive with the works of eminent contemporary artists of Hyderabad, right from 1950 to 2014. Called 'Ramaniyam 2014', this was a three-day tribute to the grand old man of arts and letters in Hyderabad — Jagdish Mittal. The exhibition ended on October 12.

Thota Vaikuntam's rural woman in oil, neo-tantric elements woven in PT Reddy's 'We Two' painted way back in 1966, to Laxman Aelay's 'Komurayya' painted in 2014, it was a celebration of art and artists of Hyderabad to mark Jagdish Mittal's 90th birthday. Mittal is better known for the finesse of his pahari style and the repository that he has built in Hyderabad.

From the maestros' brush

"Art has always blossomed in different forms, and in what better way can it be celebrated than by presenting the same on one platform," said Thota Vaikuntam, with the backdrop of his 1982 painting showing a dusky woman of Telangana, in hues of blazing orange and yellow. The vibrant simplicity of Vaikuntam ran parallel to the etchings of his fellow artist, Laxma Goud. "I don't care if people don't appreciate my work. I come from a rural place and that reflects in my works. I have tried tracing the signs of our own heritage through the works painted during the revivalism of Bengal," said Laxma, who's known for the streak of eroticism that runs through his work, and which was on display at the gallery in his 1974 work.

Is art taking a new shape?

This question loomed large and there were multiple answers. A look at Fawad Tamkanat's acrylic on canvas transported onlookers to the sleepy cityscape. However, the shades of blue that filled geometric shapes of houses glinted from the dull topography that they were built on. The sky and water body reflected typical blue shades used by Picasso. Another oil painting by Surya Prakash was a mishmash of red representing the surreal strokes of a floral landscape. He thinks that Hyderabad is still very young and has long way to go. He shared, "To a great extent, the artists here have done great work. But this does not mean the art scenario here is much enriched if we talk about young artists. They have to learn a lot." Pointing to a vibrant painting titled 'Komurayya' painted by Laxman Aelay he added, "This one painting is very symbolic of Telangana struggle. The colours of revolution are bright in the orange headgear of the old man holding a green bidi."
The experience was best summed up in the words of Jagdish Mittal, "Art is alive in me as it is in the hearts of every artist. When I look back and glance at the collection today, I feel good that the lines and dots are not dying, but taking new shapes."

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