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Monsoon musings

Art imitates life, and even a work of art can evoke the same emotion as the real season. the guide invites some of Mumbai's artists across media, to select their favourite artwork that sums up the monsoon for them

Jitish KallatArtist
Jitish Kallat
Favourite artwork: Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebott
Rainy Day is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I had my solo exhibition, titled Public Notice 3 in 2010. This work transports you to 19th century Paris as if one could feel the moisture in the air and experience the dampness of a normal monsoon day.

Gustave Caillebotte
The painting by Gustave Caillebotte, titled Paris Street: Rainy Day. Pic/AFP

Prakash GhadgePrakash Ghadge
Specialises in: Pen and ink painting
Favourite artwork: Reflection
Water is my much-loved topic, which is depicted in most of my paintings through images of water bodies, ghats and reflections. Once, while sitting by a waterfall, I got mesmerised by the rainwater gushing down the hill, with trees on both the sides, adding to the beauty. I etched the scene in a painting. The image also illustrates the complications of human life. I have integrated the softness of water colour and the hardness of ink pen, which are two contrasting mix mediums. In spite of being in the vicinity of flowing water, the tree is seeking wetness.

Pen and ink painting

Shakuntala KulkarniShakuntala Kulkarni
Specialises in: Performance art
Favourite artwork: Film Pather Panchali
When I think of the monsoon, I can only think of Satyajit Ray’s iconic film Pather Panchali. I am a film buff, and the scene showcasing the drenched Durga and Apu is so very evocative of the monsoon.

Shilpa GuptaShilpa Gupta
Specialises in: Installation, video, performance art
Favourite artwork: Bill Viola’s The Crossing
The work that comes to mind is Bill Viola’s, The Crossing, as it speaks about the fragility of the human self. The violent annihilation of a human figure by opposing natural forces of fire and water is projected simultaneously on the front and back of a double-sided screen. One one side, a man approaches from a distance in slow motion. He stops and stands still. A flame appears at his feet and quickly spreads to consume his entire body. At the same time, on the other side, the man approaches, stops, and a trickle of water begins pouring down on his head from above. It becomes a raging torrent that inundates his body. When all subsides, he has disappeared; small flickering flames on a burnt floor and a few drops of water falling from above remain.

Artist Achyut PalavArtist Achyut Palav
Specialises in: Calligraphy art
Favourite artwork: Calligraphy painted umbrella series by the artist
As an artist, I’ve always wondered why people are so fond of black umbrellas during the monsoon. July 26, 2006, was very bad for all of us. Countless people were devastated. I was affected too — my studio was submerged in water. At that time, I took out a white umbrella, and started painting on it, using vibrant colours. It made me forget my loss. Later, I bought and painted 50 white umbrellas, and held an exhibition of Calligraphy Painted Umbrellas. Through the show, I was trying to make people happy, forget their pain, and realise the monsoon is beautiful. I travelled across Maharashtra to promote this concept.

Calligraphy art

Gautam PatoleGautam Patole
Specialises in: Charcoal painting
Favourite artwork: Barsaat, a work by the artist
My paintings bring me closer to the rains. My artwork, Barsaat represents the paradox of urban and rural attitude to the rains. A lot of work has been done on the life in cities in the monsoon. But it is actually life in rural areas that gets affected the most during the season. For us, monsoon symbolises fun but for villagers, monsoon is the beginning of life.

Barsaat

Daxa KhandwalaDaxa Khandwala
Specialises in: Contemporary art
Favourite artwork: Horse series, by the artist
The Mumbai rains are world-famous. The city looks more beautiful after the first showers. The monsoon puts me in the mood for creating new works. I am hoping to conduct a monsoon art camp in the open, at Talegaon, inviting young artists to explore their talent. My paintings from the series on horses galloping through the wet paths. It reminds me of the city’s beachfront and how I wish I could run across the shore freely.

Daxa Khandwala

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