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Fragile images

Stained glass takes on a different look at the Alankritha Art Gallery


STAINED GLASS evokes images of churches instantly. This craft has now moved away from the house of worship into contemporary times - it has assumed a new avatar so to say. Houses, offices, hotels, restaurants and other buildings at least in the metros are using stained glass as a form of decoration. Be it in the form of panels, friezes, partitions, objects such as lamps, paperweights etc - stained glass is chic.

Rose Farokh Mehta from Hyderabad who has been working in stained glass since almost a decade has mounted her creations at Alankritha Art Gallery.

There are just about four `pure' stained glass panels (with soldering) displayed against the window with floral motifs and a Krishna with the flute.

There are a few of the famous Tiffany lamps (big and small which are authentic). Some of them are in interesting shapes and designs and make for good living room pieces.

But most of the works are different from the usual stained glass ones - they use coloured glass (procured by the artist from the U.S.) but in a mosaic like effect. Pieces of glass are cut in different shapes and pasted to create a theme. The whole thing is then framed sans the glass.

The themes range from nature (birds and flowers) to horses (in fact M.F. Husain's horses are translated into this glass work), Mother Teresa, Shirdi Sai Baba, some figurative (like a few `African heads' and a kingly `portrait) and semi-abstract works. Some of the works particularly the nayika (it is more or less a reproduction of a Rajasthani miniature painting) are further embellished with small beads and bangles. In the artist's words, "it is done so to make it look different." This way, the craft look is more dominant than the art. The themes used are those that can be related to by the common people.

Her inspiration for themes stem from various sources - from the environment, books, magazines and so on. Having a flair for design, it is easy for Rose Mehta to translate them into glass in her own way.

This way the commercial viability of the work is ensured. The cost factor in stained glass is certainly higher than the usual `mosaic' ones. But the painstakingly done (as there is a lot of labour involved in the making - foiling and soldering) stained glass effect is missing in such works.

The authentic stained glass works are any day higher in aesthetic value than the ones, which use cut glass. Moreover, the effect of light seeping through the glass is what adds to the beauty of the creation be it a panel or a lamp. The other works are like any wall hangings as far as the mounting goes. The only difference being a few lines of poetry inscribed on them.

The artist, who started with painting on glass, moved on to stained glass when she undertook an intensive three-months programme in New York and later one on Tiffany style lamps. She makes authentic stained glass panels on request.

The exhibition is on at the Alankritha Art Gallery (Plot 72 and 73, Residence Inn, Lane opposite Madhapur Police Station, Kavuri Hills, Jubilee Hills. Tel: 23100709, 98850-80296) till February 22 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

R.R.

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