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“Whispering Toros” : Journey of Artist Kanchan Chander narrated through work in New Delhi

Artist Kanchan Chander has created expressions though her drawings, paintings and installations with a unique charisma to engage her audience

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Artist Kanchan Chander, drawing
Artist Kanchan Chander has created expressions though her drawings, paintings and installations with a unique charisma to engage her audience.
  • Artist Kanchan Chander has created expressions through her drawings, paintings
  • Earlier, her works were based on torsos that were minimal, monumental and sparse with decorative and embellished motifs
  • Highlights of the show include a paper collage on plastic mannequin torsos which are bold, funky and vibrant

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: The journey of an artist is encapsulated in her ongoing timeline narrating where she began from to now, when she engages with her subject before putting life in them.

Artist Kanchan Chander has created expressions through her drawings, paintings and installations with a unique charisma to engage her audience.

Her show titled, “Whispering Toros” is on for view here at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Center, till August 23.

Kiran. K. Mohan has curated the exhibition.

“As a curator, it is my very first interaction with Kanchan and her works in her studio bring across a great sense of bonding,” Mohan said.

“I have followed her as an artist for years and have silently related to her works which are thought-provoking, dealing with the issues prevalent in our society,” she said.

Highlights of the show include a paper collage on plastic mannequin torsos which are bold, funky and vibrant.

Her works are full of forms of the torso using different mediums. “They resonate her style and all the tedious intricate detailing surrenders to perfection. Kanchan has been working on female toros for past two decades,” the organisers said.

Earlier, her works were based on torsos that were minimal, monumental and sparse with decorative and embellished motifs. Now she started incorporates painted flowers, sequins and Swarovskis on them.

They works are full of textured lines, built by layers upon layers of paint. Yet at the same time her mixed media torsos are embellished with sequins, Swarovskis, stickers, laces, wrapping paper and any found objects, which she is constantly on the lookout for at home, on streets and local bazaars.

“As she works, her thought process is more human and intuitive — ensuring that all art elements like composition, tonality, lines, colour, mediums and placements are summarised with precision,” the organisers said. (IANS)

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Scroll Paintings of West Bengal is integral component of India’s versatile Culture, have enough admirers to ensure survival

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Scroll Paintings , Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 5, 2017: Works of art and paintings have been an integral component of India’s versatile culture and a recent book attempts to capture minute details and important facets of the scroll paintings of Bengal. The author says that the art has enough admirers to ensure its survival.

“The future of Bengali pata paintings looks healthy to me. Even with the charm of electronic arts growing stronger by the day, people are drawn to patas, perhaps more today than 50 years ago,” the author, Mandakranta Bose, told IANS in an email interview.

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“Several cultural organisations and the West Bengal state government continue to nurture the production and marketing of patas and the patuas (scroll painters) themselves are skilled at presenting their work to the public, for instance, at the Calcutta Book Fair. The art of the pata may not be as popular as Bollywood movies but it has enough admirers to ensure its survival,” she added.

“The Ramayana in Bengali Folk Paintings” (Niyogi Books/Rs 795/130 Pages) attempts to explain how scroll paintings have become an inseparable part of storytelling, inculcated as a prerogative of the itinerant bard and the village artisans of all times.

Treated as “heritage” throughout Bengal, the paintings are drawn in colourful and vibrant style on “patas”, or scrolls, with vegetable colours and other indigenous dyes. Each scroll depicts one single incident or episode from the epic and the next set of narration follows the other, forming a narrative format that is much like a film roll or a comic strip.

“Some years ago in Medinipur district of West Bengal, while I was investigating more on the paintings, a ‘patua’ painter compared Rama to George Bush in his paintings. While Rama succeeded in bringing his warriors home, would Bush be able to do the same for his soldiers fighting in Iraq, was the question the painter tried to ask through his works,” Bose recalled.

The author said that it is in this way that the ‘patua’ painters make the past relevant to the present.

How are the Bengali scroll paintings different from the other scroll paintings?

Although painted scrolls are found in many diversified folk art traditions of India, Bengali scrolls stand out for their sustained and elaborate narrative treatment, built upon “focused plots and clear-cut characters” reflecting specific themes. In the context of the technique as well, the paintings can be distinguished by their gallant colours and bold lines, she said.

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The author of this well-researched book was first introduced to the patas of West Bengal at a friend’s home in Kolkata.

“Over the years, on my visits to Kolkata, I came across more and more of these paintings in the circles of my academic friends. I also found out that this art form was slowly gaining popularity amongst art collectors and academicians. The more I looked at these patas, the more I was drawn to them as much for their artistic form as for their narrative power,” she added. (IANS)

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Here’s how the Sikh twins created a Post-Modern genre of Art

The sisters work on the same painting simultaneously, two at a time, which is as curious an approach as it is must be difficult to execute

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Image Source : ridingtheelephant.files.wordpress.com
  • It was on the portrait of the last Sikh king, Maharaja Duleep Singh that gave the two sisters a sizeable reputation
  • At first sight, they fell in love with the Indian art of miniature painting
  • Amrit and Rabindra, though born and brought up in the west, still hold their motherland to be the source and the image of their works

At a time when the idea of European individualism influenced the art and the philosophy of people, the Singh Twins, as they like to call themselves, worked with their mutual oneness, creating art that was unique and inspiring in nature. With the famous portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh and the controversial painting depicting the Golden Temple after Operation Blue Star, Amrit and Rabindra Kaur have certainly made a mark in the history of art.

The partition of India led Amrit and Rabindra Kaur’s family to move to London. Talking about their life in Liverpool, where they have continued to live since the age of four, they told Firstpost, “We grew up in a quiet little village and were sent to a Catholic Convent school for its high standards of education, discipline and spiritual grounding. We were the only Indians and non-Christians there, but it didn’t stop us getting involved in the religious life of the school.”

The Christian imagery which is rich in iconography, symbolism, decoration and narrative, ignited their passion for art. They said that it played a huge part in influencing their aesthetic taste and led to their love of Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolists art. “As children we spent our spare time drawing fantasy and fairytale images inspired by these art movements,” they added.

Being similar in the physical sense of it is one thing but having the same ideology and passion comes with the kind of baggage most people, let alone artists, are not familiar with carrying. These sisters work on the same painting simultaneously, two at a time, which is as curious an approach as it is must be difficult to execute, says the Firstpost article.

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“At school we were first separated in class and then placed in different classrooms, against our will. Later, when we were studying the 20th century Western Art History as part of a BA (Hons) degree in Combined Studies, we were heavily criticised by our art tutors for developing similar styles of work (something that was a natural outcome of our joint love for the Indian miniature tradition rather than any conscious decision on our part to be the same). They felt we were not being individual enough. Which went against the ideal they held and taught about ‘individuality’ being ‘the be all and end all’ of contemporary art,” the twins say.

At the very first sight, they fell in love with the Indian art of miniature painting. “The technical skill, intricate detail and imaginative compositions; their beautiful jewel-like quality with the illuminated gold work, their narrative power; their satire (often used within the social and political themes) and their rich symbolic language, fascinated us,” the Singh Twins said.

But they are disappointed at the receding influence of our traditional art in the modern Indian art. They feel that inspiration need not be looked elsewhere when there are so many indigenous art forms and techniques that are glorious and unique in its own way.  “It seemed that India in general no longer valued this art form which was reduced to cheap imitations for the tourist industry,” they iterated.

A painting titled Nineteen Eighty-Four, which shows the Golden Temple after Operation Blue Star, garnered them praise but a fair share of negative reviews, as it was termed ‘violent’ by some. “The feedback to 1984 moved us but it also humbled us because we don’t feel that we had been particularly brave in depicting this event. It is easy to speak out against injustice when you are not in fear of serious repercussions. We sometimes wonder if we lived in Punjab whether we might perhaps have thought twice about creating it?” the twins ask.

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Casualty of War A Portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh Copyright @ www.singhtwins.co.uk
Casualty of War A Portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh Copyright @ www.singhtwins.co.uk

But it was the commission from the National Museum of Scotland on the portrait of the last Sikh king, Maharaja Duleep Singh that gave the two sisters a sizeable reputation. In 2009, the sisters were to draw a portrait of the king with attention focused on the belongings of the Maharaja that were part of the museum’s collection. “We had been fascinated by the tragic story of Maharaja Duleep Singh for many years. It was a dream commission!” say the twins to Firstpost. The portrait was called the ‘Reclamation of the Last Maharaja’ and was regarded positively by most.

Amrit and Rabindra, though born and brought up in the west, still hold their motherland to be the source and the reflection of their works. “Despite living here (in the UK), our lives and our work is a reflection of our cultural values that continue to be inspired by our very Indian traditions,” they say.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.

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Meet Cartoonist Shyam Shankar: Find out what inspires this self-taught Artist!

Shyam also conducts workshops for all ages in a bid to encourage the budding talent

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Illustration by Shyam Shankar. Image source: mljohnyml.blogspot.com
  • Shankar moved to Chennai and started working at the age of 15 with a children’s magazine
  • He prefers manual drawing over digital methods of sketching
  • Soon he started illustrating for more than 120 magazines in numerous languages

As a child, you might have undergone several failed attempts at sketching. But have you ever wondered who blows life into the characters you see in a children’s magazine or in a film storyboard? Well, it is the artistic genius of talented cartoonists and illustrators.

Speaking to one such cartoonist, Shyam Shankar, The New Indian Express brought to the surface nuances of this highly-skilled profession.

Cartoonist Shyam Shankar Image Source: The New Indian Express
Cartoonist Shyam Shankar Image Source: The New Indian Express

Shankar, now 38, started off with sketching toons professionally when he was just 15. However, he recalls that even as a child he was quite passionate about drawings.

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He said, “By the time I was 12-year-old, the walls of my room were full of drawings and paintings stuck on them!”

He further said that his grandfather always encouraged his talent.

Shankar moved to Chennai after his class 10 and was immediately employed by a children’s magazine as a cartoonist. His talent soon got the wings it deserved as he started illustrating for more than 120 magazines, including ones in Telugu, Tamil and English.

Debunking a myth that a cartoonist’s job is mere to sketch, Shankar explained that it is not just drawing the character “but an entire situation must be visualised in one’s mind.”

He added, “You will be given the entire script but unless you observe the situations people live in, you cannot commit it to paper. For example, if you are told to draw the main characters —a fishing couple — you cannot draw it unless you have actually been to a fishing community and observed their life. What is expressed in one sentence in the script must be exactly portrayed in the illustration.”

Talking about the dearth of talent in the industry, Shankar pointed out that several budding artists fail to observe and hence are not able to develop their art.

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“My entire life has been like a single racehorse. There are very few peers in my field. I often tell the artists I meet to develop their talent and then I myself will introduce them to major magazines. What’s the use in having talent without competition,” he stated.

Shankar also frequently conducts workshops with Ramakrishnan (a known cartoonist), which are open to all ages and are aimed at nurturing the talent.

He also revealed that all his drawings and painting are manual as he doesn’t prefer digital methods that take away the authenticity and beauty of the artwork.

Shankar concluded by saying, “I don’t believe in visiting cards. My work is my visiting card!”

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