A nice man to paint
Khushwant Singh's autobiography, Truth, Love and a Little Malice, becomes inspiration for artistes and photographers at the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2013
Meera Devidayal’s painting, which she has made for the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2013, depicts a man reclining and looking at kites flying in the air. The backdrop that she has chosen is a page from Khushwant Singh’s autobiography Truth, Love and a Little Malice. Devidayal’s painting is part of an art and photography exhibition at the festival, that takes inspiration from Singh’s book. The veteran writer and columnist will be receiving the Landmark Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award this year, and the organisers thought it would be a great idea to ask artists and photographers to create artworks inspired by Singh’s memoirs. The works will be displayed at Piramal Gallery at the National Centre for Performing Arts.
Coming to Devidayal’s painting, the artist says that the kites depict Singh’s life. And what about the yellow colour right behind? “He’s led a very colourful life, so the colour represents that aspect,” she says with a smile.
The idea of bringing together art and literature on the same platform came to festival director Anil Dharker, when he was hosting the first festival in 2010. But a concept that looks great on paper, is not always that easy to execute. “This year, Geetu Hinduja of the Fine Art Company and her colleague Shraddha Purnaye came on board. After lot of brainstorming, we thought of taking the book title of the person we are giving the lifetime achievement award to as our theme,” says Dharker.
Some of the artists and photographers taking part in the exhibition include Amit Ambalal, Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Arunkumar HG, Clare Arni, Desmond Lazaro, G. R. Iranna, and Gargi Raina. Every artist has interpreted the title in their own way. For sculptor Riyaz Komu, it was the journalistic side of the man that fascinated him. “Singh was in the corridors of power. A person like that has a different take on things. He’s a close observer and I wanted to celebrate that aspect in my work,” he says. Delhi-based artist Manjunath Kamath, has done two small art-works titled ‘Spoon Feedings’ for the show, showing Singh’s writer side.
Dharker thinks it will be really exciting to see what each artist comes up with. “I wanted to find the relationship between the written word and the visual medium. I expect to see many different visualisations in the exhibition,” he adds. Hinduja too, says she hasn’t been this excited about an exhibition in a long time. “After 15 years of being in the business, you don’t get excited that easily. But here, there are a number of works I’m looking forward to,” she says.
WHEN: Nov 14-17
WHERE: Piramal Gallery, NCPA