The whimsical world of Haren Vakil

Updated: Jan 02, 2019, 10:36 IST | Snigdha Hasan | Mumbai

The Canada-based artist is back in the city after four years for a show of his fantastical works

Acrobats, 11x14, ink and acrylic on yupo paper; (right) Red Dress, 
11x15, ink on paper
Acrobats, 11x14, ink and acrylic on yupo paper; (right) Red Dress, 11x15, ink on paper

An architect who became a full-time artist about two decades ago, Mumbai-born Haren Vakil has let the intersection of vocation and passion find its way in to his works, which he defines as "pretty hard-edged".

But two decades is a long time, and as memories of architectural drawings fade, Vakil's paintings have lately begun to reflect a freer style. The artist, who moved to Canada 40 years ago, is in Mumbai with the show, Weird and Whimsical: Works on Paper, featuring 25 of his recent works.

Haren Vakil
Haren Vakil

"As the title suggests, my work is whimsical, a lot of which is rooted in surrealism. My way of working is intuitive. I doodle a lot and from that, something evolves," Vakil tells us. The shift to a freer style corresponds with his choice of medium for these works. "I have used Yupo, a type of synthetic paper that doesn't bend even when I apply several washes over it," he explains.

Apart from architecture, Vakil's journey across the Atlantic with a stint in The Netherlands left an impression on him. He counts Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte, American sculptor Alexander Calder and Picasso among his influences. Surrounded by indigenous art from the Inuit and Eskimos in southern British Columbia, where he lives, Vakil's works haven't remained free from this influence either.

How does he compare the art scene in the two countries? "While I am not well-acquainted with the contemporary artists here, I have always liked the work of Bhupen Khakhar, Vivan Sundaram, Atul Dodiya, and of course, Husain and Souza," Vakil says. Speaking of Mumbai and Artisans', where he will showcase his works, he adds, "Earlier, there was Jehangir Art Gallery. Today, the whole area around Kala Ghoda seems to be becoming an art centre."

FROM: January 4 to 13, 11 am to 7 pm
AT: ARTISANS', Kala Ghoda.
CALL: 9820145397

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