Harvest 2017

The Song of Many Streams...

Aug 02, 2017   |   New Delhi

The Songs of Many Streams As They Flow Into A Universal Ocean Early Bengol (Untitled) Oil on canvas 30" x 20" • Circa 1950’s Harvest 2017 is a presentation of the state of our art today. As such, it reflects the wide range of artistic expression brought together not only from different parts of our country but also from different genres of our art. On the one hand we have the precursors of our modernist tradition like Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H. Raza, Krishen Khanna, Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar, with later practitioners like K.S. Kulkarni, J. Swaminathan, Rajendra Dhawan, Sunil Das, Manu Parekh, Shakti Burman, Zarina Hashmi, Shobha Broota, Arpana Caur, Shamshad Husain, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Bhupen Khakhar, K.G. Subramanyan, T. Vaikuntham, Somenath Maity, Owais Husain, K. Muralidharan, Roy Thomas, Riyas Komu, Faiza Huma, Apu Debnath Banga, Senaka Senanayake, George Martin, Bose Krishnamachari, Manish Pushkale, John Tung Sein, R.M. Palaniappan, Anu Malhotra, Vibha Galhotra, Harshavardhan, Jagannath Panda, Pooja Iranna, Sanjay Sawant, Vaishali Oak, Alok Bal, Parag K Tandal, Sweety Joshi, Surita Tandon, Maya Burman and Sandeep Jigdug. This trend is both consistent and a major one in our modern developments in art. So, naturally, they come from different parts of the country and its neighbours, forming the most varied and important part of this exhibition. Another trend that has surfaced is that of artists who have expressed themselves not only in the idiom of modern Pop art, like Farhad Hussain, Snehashish Maity, Siddharth Goswami, and Pradipta Chakraborthy. They represent a satirical stream in our contemporary art, which may be sharp or subtle, but challenges our day to day narratives that are more evident in our folk art and its derivatives like the works of young Kangra artists, Chhotu Lal, Jayasri Burman, Seema Kohli, Yugal Sharma, Kalam Patua, Baua Devi,Hira Devi, Dhavat Singh, Krishnakant Jha and Venkat Raman Singh Shyam. They represent variants of different regional styles close to the post modernist traditions and narratives which are both varied and reflect an important part of our art that has evolved with the multiple experiences of our people in increasingly different rural, urban and global environments. An element of romanticism comes in as a major trend in our landscape painting in the works of artists like Sanjay Bhattacharya and Bikash Poddar, while elements that remind one of the Nayaka and Nayika paintings in our traditional art, updated to suit our present conditions, can be seen in the work of Lalu Prasad Shaw, Bratin Khan, Sutapa Khan and Belgaum Nagesh Goud. The execution of these works is within the framework of modern art but the styles and subject matter reflects the dream world of the past plunged into the churning of our present day conditions. India has a powerful sculptural tradition which is represented here in its modernist form in the works of Sakti Burman, K. Laxma Goud, , Sheela Chamaria, Shashi Paul and Adeela Suleman. On the other hand post modernist Pop developments are reflected in the work of Venkat Bothsa, Sachindranath Jha and Shanta Mani. This bifurcation of our major trends reflects changes taking place in the appreciation of the formal qualities of art which are now becoming more and more involved in narratives of an immediate nature of communication with the interplay of different levels of universality and immediacy. This reflects the varied sources and aims in our present day art which has often been described as eclectic. In a world where tendencies of imposing uniform standards are fast overtaking our universal traditions, it is only natural that fragmentary differences across the regions will emerge. So, it is likely that more and more narratives will be coming out of different regions, each with its own message and story to tell. It is this that is new this time, but the main trend of our art, born out of our national movement and communicating with universal values as yet another equal source of inspiration, is still going ahead and developing, as is evident in the Harvest Exhibition this year. Suneet Chopra Art Critic, Writer 2017