Panchkone Art Exhibition: Art is not always beyond us

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Recently, I have visited one of the biggest art exhibitions in my life where young artists displayed their works. It was at Delhi and it cleared many myths I held regarding art exhibitions.

Generally, people think art, classical music etc. are for the intellectual lot and they would not be able to comprehend it. It is not so as the sole purpose of art, any kind, is to appeal to you in any way and gratify your senses. One can’t like everything that comes across nor each art piece is there to hold some meaning.

For instance, there was a big canvas just with different hues and nothing else. It just felt good looking at it. I asked an artist about it and he said it is interplay of colours and appears good; there is no need for it to have some explanation.

Art is not just limited to canvas but there are many varieties and fusion works and installations that keeps on evolving and artists keep on innovating. There were many canvas works, sculptures, fusion of painting and photography, waste material installations, physical objects and images combined to say something, graphical and digitally enhanced images, drawings with colours as well as different substances pasted on the canvas, physical objects like tyres, steel, mud etc used for different installations… and so on.

There I met an artist who was displaying his works and happens to be a classmate of mine from my school days. Tahsin Akhtar, a part of the artist group Panchkone, had invited me and many of our school mates to see the works. I didn’t regret spending time admiring how much the world of art has to offer and how little I knew.

Panchkone, literally meaning five angles, has five artists as its five angles or arms or vertices, whatever you call it. The five artists are: Tahsin Akhtar, Raj Kumar Sahani, Rohit Dalai,J.Deepa, Pallavi Singh.

These young artists, all around 25 years of age, have much to offer than their age suggests. I have seen some of their works and I can’t wait to visit their next exhibition from November 17 to 23, 2012 at Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, Delhi 01.

Raj Kumar Sahani, a young man from Benaras, is a rebel against the established notions and prejudices of the society and his works aim to blast those parochial thoughts and intellect. In his words: “The ironies of life find an outlet and are represented in my works that mirror the socio-cultural notions of human mentality.”

He further says, “I keep my visual direct and convenient for its viewers to understand it. For instance, taking the natural form of fish wrapped in cloth, here I intend to show that society has set limitations, but an insightful mind, which is as lively and energetic like a fish, cannot be bound, and if a fish stops moving it die. Likewise, in another work I have portrayed myself as a chameleon, experiencing myriad shades of human sentiments and emotions, which I see as positivity.”

Tahsin, on the other hand, says that his compositions deliver thoughts, dramatized by means of living and still objects from every-day mundane surroundings, to which he adds on an assorted value.

He explains, “I pick themes from my regular environment because I believe nature itself supervises idea through reality, but my personal interest is an effort to bring forth surreality. An aura I try to create using exaggerated forms and illusory landscapes, with an attempt to add on a personality to the forms with its suitable existence in unrestrained landscape. In thesurreal description, I try to characterize by cynosure (something that strongly attract attention by its brilliance, interest) and enigma (puzzling, riddle). Further the non-existent creatures have been used with a freedom of colour and texture in order to create a hallucinating visual appeal, with an earnest attempt tohelp the viewer penetrate into the landscape and enjoy the existence of the non- existing.”

Deepa is an excellent artist who gets inspiration from the story books, she says, “My inspiration for doing art had always been my story books, my favorites being Enid Blyton, beautiful surreal illustrations of Russian tales, stories from… I keep my visual vocabulary narrative or more appropriately illustrative as in story books.”

She further explains about her paintings, “I see my paintings as an intermediate experience, observation and imagination creating a fantasy, a world where I can dictate things as I want to. Mostly, I like to draw and paint the confluence of circumstances already experienced and also what I wish to experience.”

Rohit believes that our minds have chaotic speculations and that he what he tries to put on the canvas. He says that his paintings are his “personal encounter with self”.

Rohit says, “They are snapshots or fleeting glimpse into combat of immediate response towards an experience. While incorporating this idea into visual form I dominantly bring in the confluence of the idea of youth and fantasy.”

Pallavi thinks that the curiosity about the psyche of the opposite sex is a Pandora’s box and that fascinates her the most. Her experiences during her college days observing the changes occurring with age in men both in terms of behaviour and psyche and also the struggles against it and measures taken to reverse it, always intrigued her.

She has created “a middle aged, bald semi-naked pot-bellied man” who has crossed over the age of 40 but still lust for his youthful look and adventures and sometimes in the process makes himself a parody of past.

She further explains, “Through this character I try to depict the longing for youthful appearances, the veiled fantasies and the hidden desires which are now becoming more visible and observable in the background of changes in the society and growing accessibilities to new avenues. To depict this idea, I have used element of humor as a medium of communication. I have tried using familiar and very telling locations like saloon, bus restaurants etc to emphasis that this phenomenon is not limited to a particular class but universally applicable to this age group.”

Knowing that what these young men and women are up to and the different style they have, I am not going to miss the show. The beauty is that all of them have different style and presentation but they are all equally important pillars of their group Panchkone.

I will be waiting for you to be there on November 17 at Rabindra Bhavan, Lakit Kala Akademi to encourage these young artists.

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