RIYĀZ: An Inclusive Tapestry of Diverse Art Practices

Updated: Sep 2


by a Special Correspondent



Gallery view (Photo courtesy of Aakshat Sinha)


Gallery view, Photo courtesy Aakshat Sinha


Visitors, Curator and Artist in front of Narayan Sinha's artwork

From left to right: Aakshat Sinha, Ina Puri, Ranjan Kaul and Bapi Das

(Photo courtesy of Aakshat Sinha)


Iram Art Gallery based in Ahmedabad presented its debut show, ​Riyāz, a group show curated by Ina Puri showcasing artists working in diverse mediums – from painting and photography to photography and textile art –at Bikaner House, New Delhi, 31 August 2022. Spanning generations and regions, the 25 visual artists create a narrative that is inclusive and open, and together weave a rich tapestry across time and space. Underlined with poetic resonances, ‘​Riyāz’ is about fragments of histories yet to be written, geographies that defy human-made borders and traverse to lands unseen.


The exhibition includes the works of modern masters like KG Subramanyan to contemporary veterans and emerging artists who have unique perspectives and styles such as Manu Parekh, Ranbir Kaleka, Naveen Kishore, Jagannath Panda, Jayasri Burman, Ankon Mitra, Waswo X Waswo, Purvai Rai, Bapi Das and Deepa Parekh.


Women by KG Subramanyan


S Harshvardhana


Where did my horse go - II by Jaganath Panda


Explaining the initiative, Harssh Shah, the founder of Iram Art, said, “Our focus is to create a strong contemporary practice in Ahmedabad. Volta helped us introduce our program to an international audience. We believe in strategic tie ups with reputed Indian galleries and introducing their programs to its clients in Ahmedabad. For this reason, this group show in Delhi, where there are artists represented by various reputed galleries, will help Iram Art introduce cutting-edge contemporary art practises to its client base.”


Deepa Parekh, Bapi Das and Purvai Rai showcase textile and embroidery art respectively, with each pursuing a different path. Describing their works, Curator Ina Puri remarked, “Deepa Parekh makes exquisite tapestries textured with rows of thread, reminding you of the patterns made by the elements. Bapi Das makes embroidered paintings reflecting upon his experience in the city driving an auto-rickshaw. Purvai Rai’s treatment of textiles gives the material a totally different feel – within the length and breadth is her what she feels about life around her and her strong political comments about social occurrences.”

Walking and Turning in Red I by Deepa Parekh


Debasish Mukherjee’s powerful experiment with script in black and white is an exploration of his own personal narrative as an art practitioner. Naveen Kishore’s captivating photographs from the Performing the Goddess series are also on display, while Manisha Gera Baswani has showcased her series on Artists and their Studios, featuring artists such as Manjit Bawa, Ganesh Haloi, A Ramachandran, Anita Dube and Subodh Gupta.


Performing the Goddess by Naveen Kishore



Artist in their studio series by Manisha Gera Baswani

Manjit Bawa at New Delhi in 2005, Anjum Singh at New Delhi in 2010,

A Ramachandran at New Delhi in 2014,

Raqs Media Collective at their retrospective at NGMA New Delhi in 2015,

Ganesh Haloi at Kolkata in 2016, Anita Dube at NOIDA in 2017, Manisha Parekh at Gurgaon in 2021 and Subodh Gupta at Gurgaon in 2021


On-site installations made in different mediums enliven the show. Titled ‘Syncretic Ritual’, Megha Joshi’s installation has incense sticks and cotton wicks along with the art with cotton wicks and acrylic plywood art. Debasish Mukherjee’s portrait of an oral history project on mapping lost homes is made with cotton, thread and elastic.


Syncretic Ritual by Megha Joshi


Portrait of an oral history project on mapping lost homes by Debasish Mukherjee


Ankon Mitra uses two specific techniques in all his sculptural installations – Origami (folds only) and Kirigami (cuts + folds). The folding of boats is a ceiling installation made of brass, aluminium, hand-woven textiles, while ‘French Cordenon’ uses cardstock and nylon wires. ‘The Primy Shapes’ is a wall-mounted kinetic and lighting installation of brass, aluminium, motors, proximity sensors, and LED lights.


The Abhyaas Mandala by Ankon Mitra


Describing the genesis of his work, Ankon Mitra, said, The technique of folding came to me as an un-self-conscious gift, an act of serendipity from Mother Nature, while learning to design gardens and observing nature closely. Leaves, flowers, stems, roots have folds in them which help to save energy and give structural strength. Similarly, our bodies are made of millions of folds; rivers, ocean coastlines and mountain systems are made by processes of folding, as rocks, water, soil. Sea-shells have folds inside them, as do sound and light waves when they move through space. My sculptural inspirations come from this treasure trove of folds (all around us and even inside of us).”

Fireflight Extension Faces by Narayan Sinha


Narayan Sinha reimagines life through found mechanical mediums; small interventions create life-like objects from cast-away metal scraps from the series Firelight Extension, while his Faces are made from aluminium, brass, fabric and iron. On the other hand, PR Daroz’s series of Amphoras titled ‘Witnessing Time’ points to the notion that time is a continuous flow and that past, present and future cannot be considered as separate and distinct.

Cultured Organic? by Dipalee Daroz


Through her sculpture ‘Cultured Organic?’ Dipalee Daroz explores this two-fold dimension of embodiment and perception, which plays out as much within the confines of the objectified representation as between the discerning gaze of the viewer and the altered projection. Riyas Komu’s ‘Salt & Pepper’ (sculpture-II) made with recycled wood and automotive paint is a search for truth and a detour towards the gestures of walking and its transformative moorings from being ritual and meditative to the extremes of political imagination.

Purvai Rai’s mixed media mixed media is part of the artist’s series titled Founding Roots, is a spatial exploration of the urban and rural, fluid and linear, traditional and modern, of history and the present. In ‘Landscapes of Home’ time stays linear, while spaces are multidimensional, an outcome of our perception and the stories we hold.


The Landscape of Home 1 by Purvai Rai


Explaining the work, Purvai said, “The process of farming guides the forms that emerge on the fabric of the work. Involving artisans from Punjab became a way to expand on the interconnectedness of parallel spaces. The artisans’ embroidery on organza gave birth to botanical abstractions interwoven with the linearity of urban landscapes. The work is frozen in resin, retaining the imprint of each artisan, and of my ancestor that is left in me.”

Trajectory 2 by Bapi Das, Embroidery


Bapi Das with his artwork, Photo courtesy Aakshat SInha


Bapi Das’s ‘Trajectory’ captures the details of shifts in the windows of time, framed and separated by change. Of the opening two pieces, the first is a figure of the artist as a child, riding the ubiquitous three-wheeler, while the second is a lamppost built of wood. The third is the graduation to a two-wheeler – the cycle which requires its driver to balance themselves without training wheels. After the cycle comes a large lamppost; a BSNL tower stands in the background. The final piece is from adulthood – the ubiquitous autorickshaw. The glass of the autorickshaw contains the reflection of buildings, the road dividers are blue and white – colours specific to Kolkata. The signal light has a number underneath, counting down until the colour changes.

Moonlight Prayer at Assi Ghat by Manu Parekh


Village Opera by Madhvi Parekh


Chandrakala by Jayasri Burman


Mother Care by Amit Ambalal


Play Ground by Mona Rai


Gundiyali diptych by Reyaz Badaruddin


Some of the other notable works include Manu Parekh’s series on Assi Ghat; Madhvi Parekh’s ‘Village Opera’; Jayasri Burman’s ‘Chandrakala’; Amit Ambalal’s ‘Mother Care'; Mona Rai’s mixed media on canvas; Ranbir Kaleka’s ‘Fantastical Posthuman Concordia’ and ‘Knowledge of Nature’ made on Duratrans print, mounted on light film; Jagannath Panda’s 'Where did my horse go? – II’ made from acrylic, fabric and glue; and Reyaz Bahruddin’s ‘Still Life’ made with red earthenware.


Guardians in a Dystopic Garden and Fantastical Post human Concordia by Ranbir Kaleka


In Search of the Absconding Dream by Waswo X. Waswo, Black and white digital photo hand-painted by Rajesh Soni and R. Vijay; The Bamboo cutter by Waswo X. Waswo, Black and white digital photo hand-coloured by Rajesh Soni


Taken as a whole, ’Riyāz’ pushes the envelope to create an experience that is immersive, eclectic and engaging. Here are narratives and sceneries that fuse myth, memory, fact, fiction, history, tradition, fantasy and documentation.


(All images are courtesy of Iram Art Gallery, unless mentioned otherwise.)


The exhibition will remain open till 4 September 2022


 


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