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Diverse art expressions

The inaugural `Young Eminents' art exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculptures, graphics and prints at the Chitraangan Gallery in Hawa Mahal offers diverse expressions and articulations of different concepts by nearly 15 artists, most of them young.

Mayank Kumari Deo, who organised the show, could not have chosen a better place. The whole architectural ambience and history of Hawa Mahal is quite appropriate for the manifestation of such a display of creativity. This is a very good beginning and one hopes it would lead to more art-related activities as it is a fascinating place affording remarkable opportunities.

The participants include M. Adinarayana, a senior sculptor of the Andhra University Fine Arts Department, K. Ravi, G. Sairam, P. Srinivasa Rao, John Ratna Babu, Namburi Srinivas Rao, Rani, Suresh, Uma, Susanko Datta, Bhoopal, K.M. Panda and K.V.S. Prasad.

There does not seem to be a common strand that binds the works together, either in terms of concerns or through formal representations. There are abstractions, figurative imagery, works that are academic exercises and a few that are absolutely evocative and lyrical. Some seem to have been done in defiant solitude while others are within the discipline of an established style, while yet others appear detesting classifications and hierarchies. In a broad sense, these young artists seem to have blended tradition with their essential grounding in modernity.

Panda's untitled works in acrylic and his `Topography-1', `Arrows', `Transience', and `Eternity' are depicted in a very simplified form. In spite of using bright colours, there is an underlying element of alienation and disquiet in his landscape. While Ravi has done a series of highly stylised `Woman' possessing striking visual charm, Sushanto Datta's imagery, done on hand-made paper is clearly inspired by adivasi art forms. Namburi Srinivas Rao with his simple lines depicts ordinary life in a poetic manner. There is a certain flair and vibrant imagination in some of his works.

Of the two women artists, Uma and Rani, the latter articulates a very feminist sensibility with depictions of the single woman. Uma's concerns are more mundane like simple objects used at home. Bhoopal's `Weariness' and `Liability' in dry pastels are attempts at capturing the dignity of human labour. John Ratnam's works have a strong influence of Hussain.

Suresh's etchings of old buildings merge easily with the landscape and are very impressive. They exude a feeling of serenity and implacable repose but could they not have been done on a larger format? Perhaps, the artist feels using limited space affords maximum intimacy? P. Srinivas exhibits his sculpture done in wood relief with other scrap material.

In all, the lack of a thematic unity in most of the works, is refreshing. The artists themselves say they have not digressed much from their earlier concerns.

Mayank, a passionate lover of art, says that she always want to have an art gallery and the idea of putting the Hawa Mahal to creative use began after the local chapter of the INTACH took the initiative. She also plans to have a restaurant and coffee shop in the lawns and a small museum. "The former Maharaja of Bobbili has said that he wants to display some of his artefacts here," she adds.

The works on display at the art exhibition are wallet-friendly and the response to the show has been fairly encouraging. It runs till September 5 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and is definitely worth a visit.

KRISNA V.S.

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