I believe that people, especially in rural India, gain an inexplicable energy when they follow simple rites and rituals. For example, tying a red thread round a tree and making a wish, or worshipping a stone holds deep meaning for many people,” says Anant Nikam.
The artist’s latest series of paintings, Sacred Spaces, is dedicated solely to understanding and interpreting this phenomenon. It will be displayed at Jehangir Art Gallery between November 19 and November 25.
“I have worked with the concept to create a series of paintings. But I have intentionally left all the paintings untitled, because I don’t want to impose my interpretations on others. I do not want to restrict people’s thoughts,” says Nikam.
Nikam’s inspiration primarily comes from the time he has spent at his hometown in the Marathwada district. “I was born in Amba Jogayi, where locals worship the devi. Residents there constantly make dedications to god, hoping to have their wishes fulfilled. They gain positive energy through these practices,” adds the painter.
Tribal communities in the Dastar area, he adds, place five foot-tall wooden pillars as a ‘samadhi’ to honour the dead. “They carve the pillar with all that the person loved during his/her lifetime,” he says.
Nikam is aware that not everyone might understand these practices. “People living in the cities might not believe and some might have never heard of these practices, but I leave it to them to interpret my paintings as they wish,” he concludes.
On: November 19-25, 11 am-7 pm, pm to 9.45 pm
At: Jehangir Art Gallery, MG Road, Kala Ghoda