Kitsch of the matter

Experts from cinema, style, design and the arts will discuss the lasting influence of Ravi Verma and its impact on Indian visual kitsch

Autorickshaws, cutting chai glasses, film posters and desi comics have something in common — an influence of kitsch. This influence that traces its origin to the legacy of artist-king Raja Ravi Varma is the subject of a panel discussion this week.

Raja Ravi Varma imagesRaja Ravi Varma images

The discussion, hosted by Avid Learning, in partnership with the Piramal Museum of Art and curator, Farah Siddiqui, will be anchored around the legacy of Raja Ravi Varma and his contributions to popular Indian culture. Multiple layers of Indian kitsch will be unwrapped by artist Atul Dodiya, designer Krsnaa Mehta, filmmaker Ketan Mehta and art patron Anil Relia in conversation with entrepreneur and art connoisseur Sangita Kathiwada.

Asad Lalljee, CEO Avid Learning, explains that the panel was chosen keeping in mind their involvement with kitsch, art and with Raja Ravi Varma’s legacy at some phase in their career. “This is not going to be another straight talk on the artist but a different approach to see kitsch,” he says.

Fara Siddiqui, who will take the audience for a walkthrough of the exhibition before and after the discussion, explains the speakers’ link with Ravi Verma. “The panel has been chosen accordingly. Dodiya, who is one of the most cerebral artists of our time, was influenced by Verma. He was born in Ghatkopar, which has a Ravi Verma studio. Ketan Mehta made a film on his life and when Krsnaa Mehta started work, many of his designs emerged from the kitsch,” she says. Sangita Kathiwada was also involved in the costume design for the film on Ravi Varma.

Siddiqui, clarifies that there will also be criticism of Verma’s, and not just blind lauding of his legacy. “He was an influential man whose travels abroad were funded by royalty. This could have influenced how he saw the world. Such points will be considered while discussing his accomplishments,” she says.

On: April 28, 6 pm AT Piramal Museum of Art, Peninsula Corporate Park, Lower Parel.
Call: 9769937710

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