Immerse yourself in artistic excellence at Delhi Contemporary Art Week

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Art gives us the opportunity to examine what it means to be human, to express and express ourselves, and to bring people and ideas together. And even as we rise to the challenge of navigating the new normal in a global pandemic, we are reminded that now is the best time to value the arts. Whether big or small, whether it’s sidewalk chalk art or community murals, art makes a difference in the way we live our lives.

In line with this ethos, the fifth edition of Delhi Contemporary Art Week 2022 will feature an impactful curation of artworks by the seven participating galleries – all, coincidentally, led by women. This organized forum will build on the synergies between seven like-minded galleries in the capital, who have consistently promoted contemporary art and are committed to the vision of coming together to educate, showcase and promote it. Here’s what you can expect:

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Spotlight on: Kamurai and Mansha Chhatwal

Kaimurai (above) is the identity through which Abishek Ganesh J (b. 1984) expresses his art and research practice. His work is a dialogue between organic forms and energy flows experienced in the Western Ghats, ancient South Indian art, rituals, architecture and Carnatic music. It captures the raw energy and inherent vibration that is ubiquitous but buried by everyday chaos. The repeated marks (from thin strokes to broad brush strokes) are seemingly calm yet aggressive are characteristic of the organic nature of his work. An expression executed only with natural indigo. “There are three elements that trigger my work. A combination of material (natural indigo), organic forms (real or fantasized) and Carnatic music. My mind wanders in the fantastic jungles of an ancient past with abundant life, strange formations and is informed by the mysticism of Carnatic music. It is a meditative process, an interaction between the physical and the metaphysical. My hands take control of my mind, creating repeated markings, a method that renders the work of art,” he says.

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Chhatwal’s (above) the practice is built around books that have been censored over time. If an author (and given the current socio-political climate, we can extend this definition to include artists, journalists, activists, NGOs and minorities) is brave enough to write and write again in the face of institutional threat, then how can we support them? By undertaking the rather forceful acts of blurring, masking, cutting, deleting and reshaping iconic books, Chhatwal goes beyond highlighting censorship outrage to a need to establish channels for meaningful dialogue. She does this in several ways; first, using beeswax as a metaphor for candlelit public marches of peaceful solidarity, like the comparison of burning candles and books and finally in wax’s resemblance to dehydrated human flesh. The latter becomes relevant if we consider Milton’s idea of ​​culture as vital nourishment. His second tool is collage so that the final images are symbolic of the current environment of bigotry and fear.

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Spotlight on: A selection of botanical works by three artists – Paula Sengupta, Rashmimala and Valay Gada, who draw inspiration from nature and draw attention to its beauty, to signal their concerns about climate change and the political ecology of plant species.

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Paula Sengupta, The Tree of Thorns

Sengupta’s ink drawings on paper encrusted with distinctive flora were made after a visit to Africa’s Serengeti forests, while the casein tempera paintings by Baroda-based Rashmimala depict herbs and plants with meticulous detail, and the large sculpture of an orchid from Valay Gada is a flowery reminder of the wonderful colors of nature.

Other highlights include two canvases by veteran artist Amit Ambalal in his distinctive animated brushwork featuring animals and their playful interactions with humans.

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Nandini Bagla Chirimar, “How many ways am I related to you?”

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The architectural reliefs of Dilip Chobisa, the ground pigment designs of Ishita Chakraborty on the rooftops of Dharavi (above), Shambhavi’s luminous ghataks, inspired by Kabir’s couplets, and Tanmoy Samanta’s evocative gouache on landscapes of broken and imperfect objects will also be part of the gallery’s eclectic art selection at DCAW. Also on display will be the canvases of Mekhala Bahl, which bring together a host of printmaking techniques with drawing, collage, painting and quilting, and the mixed Nandini Bagla Chirimar frieze of knotted moli and janeu.

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Spotlight on: Yogesh Ramkrishna

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Pune-based Ramkrishna works in multiple mediums and often includes different levels of interactivity in his work. Her practice emphasizes observations of post-truth behaviors of society, manipulated information, and evolved meanings of the spaces and relationships of our surrounding world. Ordinary people transform into evolving beings, their reality leaps into fantasy futures where the mundane meets the extraordinary as they merge to create a path for themselves. “Are we ready for Tomorrow’s Sun?” which will be presented at DCAW serves up dramatic acts from an in-house theater in these post-pandemic times where it explores evolved domestic situations, altered emotions, and the meanings of Indian family objects, spaces, and relationships. Masks inspired by traditional plays are redefined to show power, hide identity and emotions highlight the double life of humans.

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Spotlight on: Aditya Pande

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Pande’s process involves both the manipulation of computer-aided technologies and more traditional media. Thus, an individual work can rely on the use of media as diverse as vector drawing, digital photography, ink, garlands and acrylic paint. The dense layering of the picture plane marks the artist’s process; this often extends to the acrylic covering the artwork. It’s a created world of amorphous characters swirling around its frame of vision, pushing, sucking and ramming into each other. His busy compositions develop through the layering of collaged photographs, digital vector illustrations, and more traditional elements drawn by hand in ink and acrylic paint that often stretch over the acrylic glazing. The resulting cacophony of textures and lines merge seamlessly, existing in a space of ambiguity. The biomorphic amalgams are both childish and nuanced, spontaneous and orchestrated.

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Spotlight on:
Samanta Batra Mehta

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Mehta talks about the migration that spanned four generations in her family.

As an Indian artist living in New York for over a decade, she examines the constant state of flux she has experienced since childhood. As an incorrigible collector, her collection of maps, books, prints and ancient objects resulted in works of art and provided her with a sense of permanence and points of reference in physical and emotional geographies in constant evolution.

Her series, ‘Voices of my Silence’, is an extension of this practice through which she aims to recreate meanings and blur the lines of perception of an object in different cultural, social and geographical contexts. In this work, she uses antique wooden radios on which she juxtaposes her own visual language that draws inspiration from the human body and the nature that surrounds it.

« I am interested in what remains and recreated and what is forgotten, dissociated or eroded from memory, from somatic and personal history. I reflect on my own experiences of migration and identity resetting in an age of electronic hyper-connectivity but changing physical places. This artwork features antique wooden radios with intricate imagery. My visual vocabulary often has elements of the human form intertwined with that of nature. Nature and landscape are seen as a metaphor for the body (and vice-versa) and as a site of germination, nourishment, degradation, intrusion, plunder, colonization and transgression,” Mehta explains.

Vadehra Art Gallery

Spotlight on: Shailesh BR

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Shailesh speaks powerfully in the dialects of a daily existence. With an aura of iconography framing her visual language, her eclectic and eccentric mixed media practice invokes connections between disparate observations, thoughts, moods, feelings – the inner world – and objects, places, animals, landscapes – the outside world.

As he evokes immediate reality through intellectual and sensory contemplation, he conversationally scrutinizes the concepts of thought in metaphorical, mythological and cosmic terms. By grasping such objects of interest in the material world to navigate the truth of a metaphysical experience, it expands the functionality and meaning of these objects once their inner character is interpreted. one hand is a dialogic series that explores participatory processes of learning through a compendium of meaningful cultural codes, developed both through oral storytelling to process ideas and materials in ancient traditions, and the eventual reliability of visual languages ​​of representation to store and transfer knowledge.

By addressing the illusory essence that is the authenticity of contemporary “text”, Shailesh addresses the transmutation and fragmentation of languages ​​learned and articulated through recitation without understanding so much as the proliferation of vernaculars that emerge as a familiar by-product of individuation.

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