Our Own Path-II
Indian art has evolved over millennia, protected by the icy caps of the Himalayas to the North, the forests and hills of the East, the deserts of the West and the Ocean it gave its name to along its Southern, Western and Eastern coasts. This geographical entity that looks like a palm stretching out into the Ocean reflects a wide variety of environmental features and social formations, not to speak of linguistic and religious affiliations. India is a world in miniature. That is why it can imbibe influences and recreate its own syntheses on an autonomous basis.
This autonomy is in large measure the foundation of the confidence our contemporary art exudes even today. It has interacted with Western radical art from the impressionists to Picasso and beyond, with Japanese and Chinese art and calligraphy; and with the myriad of tribal and folk styles still flourishing in different parts of the country. These it was able to weld together as part of the upsurge that finally got British colonialists to leave. This was accompanied by a common taste in art that was more broad based than any where else in the world. It was far more resilient than the European avant-garde. In Europe, the Bauhaus survived a bare fourteen years or so, while Shantiniketan, born at about the same time, has flourished and become a full-fledged university today. This is reason enough to be confident of the future of our artistic expression.
The roots of our contemporary artistic expression are deep. That is why Jamini Roy can draw inspiration both from our tribal scroll art of Bengal and French cylindrical drawing and create his own world of a global humanist vision. This one finds reverbrating in the works of M F Hussian, S H Raza and F N Souza, but each with his different original expression based on each artistís unique experience set in the framework of Indiaís own take on universality.
Another important element that gives our contemporary art its place in the world is the high level of excellence in execution. Whether it is the flow of the line, the variety of colour and the use of texture to give a work its tactile reality, there are a large number of artists from different parts of the country and of different generations, ranging from G R Santosh from Kashmir to Redappa Naidu from Andhra, Krishen Khanna from Delhi, Ram Kumar from Himachal, Akbar Padamsee and Atul Dodiya from Mumbai, Sanjay Bhattacharya and Paresh Maity from Bengal, Viraj Naik from Goa, Arpana Caur from Punjab and M J Enas from Kerala, who reflect a reflect a remarkable capacity to express themselves with originality.
This yearís Harvest shows like its predecessors, trends in Indian contemporary art. This is the 12th year of this annual show. There are about 65-70 participating Indian artists. It shows the steady growth of Indian Art thru the ages and its focus is good quality Indian art. Its curated by Payal Kapoor director of Arushi Arts and art critic Suneet Chopra.
Art Critic, Writer