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Kitsch art

Credo Collection, an exhibition of paintings by Baba Anand, is on at Amethyst till June 10.


BABA ANAND'S `Credo Collection', an exhibition of paintings on at Amethyst, is a perfect example of kitsch art. He has used posters and prints with traditional Radha-Krishna and Ram-Sita themes and embellished them to create his signature art. So you see Vishnu, complete with charka and conch, made a little fancier with sequins, crystals and gold paint and in a broad red border that sports Dutch clogs, windmills, gold strawberries, little Ganesh heads and other little knick-knacks. Shiva, with crystals on his forehead and in his topknot, meditates on the Himalayas sitting in a frame with bright plastic sunflowers.

Baba Anand was born in Srinagar and moved to Delhi in 1985. He graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, in 1986 and worked in the fashion industry for eight years before deciding to become an artist. The fashion world hangover seems to remain though, as he embellishes his work with crystals, beads, sequins, huge flowers, fur borders and other glitzy material, usually seen on the ramp.


The faces of the figures are flawless — prints of paintings done by little known artists in Mathura and Nathdwara. Anand has painted over the posters, adding sequins, crystals, using huge, wide frames and fake flowers. A flamboyant gold `Baba `02' signature overshadows the signatures of the original artists. The ostentatious ornamentation gives the posters and prints a kind-of three-dimensional feel and added depth. What would have been an absolutely gorgeous but rather sober print of Radha and Krishna, turns out looking rather jazzy and fancy. In some cases, the work is over-the top and gaudy, but in most cases the embellishment doesn't really look bad. The sequins, glitter, gold lines, crystals and wide red borders are value additions — and done very classily too — but some of the gilt-covered plastic flowers, furry borders and glitzy pink hearts are overdone.

The exhibition, organised by the Alliance Francaise of Madras and The Embassy of France in India, is on till June 10, from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., at Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, 14, Padmavati Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram.

SHALINI UMACHANDRAN

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