Two SoBo art galleries hold throwback exhibitions that highlight the work of artists from the 1900s
Work by B Prabha, oil on canvas, 1989
Expressing the silence
Art never grows out of style; it never makes an irrelevant comment. So while a look back at the work of Indian artists created in the 1900s can help understand the trajectories of individual artists and periodic movements, or reflect its time, they also find applicability in our current world. Like Sakshi Gallery’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which looks at 30 of C Douglas’s work from 1990 to 1996, a time that gallery director Geetha Mehra calls a productive and creative time for the artist.
Work by C Douglas, mixed media on paper, 1992
During this period, his works began to feature abstract figures that began capturing human forms caught in picturesque turmoil. “Douglas is an expressionist, his work is born from an outpouring of emotions and personal experiences through which he can communicate with himself and the public at large,” Mehra shares. At a time when social media platforms are updated by the second with all forms of expressions, interactions, and happenings whether personal or on a larger social level, silence goes unnoticed. Emptiness is hard to communicate. Works such as Douglas’ carry with them a hollowness that lends expression to the unspoken depths of human loneliness, fatigue and angst.
“These figures are almost trapped and trying to break through the paper,” Mehra notes. She highlights the artist’s use of textures on paper. Unlike canvas on which you can layer using a technique like impasto, Douglas textures his paper with tea stains, and organic material like sand, charcoal, and mud mixed with glue; by crumpling and tearing the paper creating grooves across it. It’s almost as if the paper is absorbing the artist’s angst. This texturisation merits an in-person encounter instead of a digital log-in to view the exhibition. Mehra mentions that this will be the first in a long time that the artist’s works are shown in the city. Another reason to plan a visit.
On: August 22 to September 20; 11 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday at Sakshi Gallery, Third Pasta Lane, Colaba
Log on to: sakshigallery.com
Unfollowing a trend
The second series of Akara Art’s three-part exhibition called Follow/Unfollow shows the work of painters born between the 1930s and ’40s. Founder Puneet Shah points out that the show’s title highlights the artists’ unfollowing of their predecessor’s style and outlook, similar to the social media phenomenon of following and unfollowing platform users.
Woman Destroyed by Nalini Malani, watercolour on paper, 1986
It showcases artists who set the pace for modernist and contemporary Indian art including Nilima Sheikh, Nalini Malani, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, and Nasreen Mohamedi among others. Gallery manager Shreemoyee Moitra notes that this series highlights the period when women artists take prominence collectively for the first time in the history of Indian art. Check out rare collages by Nasreen Mohamedi and Zarina Hashmi, and a portrait of a refugee family by B Prabha who is known for her portraiture of pretty fisherwomen; a shift from her conceptual style.
Puneet Shah and Shreemoyee Moitra
“The show is an archive of contemporary Indian art going back to post-Independence. It gives the audience an opportunity to see and trace back the pivotal moments of Indian art history through certain highlighted works,” Moitra signs off.
On: August 26 to September 17; 11 am to 6.30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday at Akara Art, Churchill Chambers, Colaba
Log on to: akaraart.com