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Vadehra Art Gallery to show A Ramachandran’s pandemic-time paintings

Vadehra Art Gallery

By: Preety Chaudhary

New Delhi, November:

‘Subaltern Nayikas & Lotus Pond’ to begin in two venues of Delhi from Nov. 14

Thirteen new paintings by renowned A. Ramachandran will be on display in the capital from Sunday, giving an insight into how a prolonged Covid-19 lockdown induced phenomenal experimentations in the content and style of the artist.

Being organised by Vadehra Art Gallery (VAG) in two venues of the city, the solo shows will mirror the octogenarian’s latest spell of creativity underlined by visual grandeur and subtle expressions that also helped him counter the melancholy around the worldwide pandemic for almost two years.

Titled Subaltern Nayikas & Lotus Pond, one exhibition will begin this Sunday (November 14) in central Delhi’s Triveni Kala Sangam, while the other will start the next day at VAG’s Modern Gallery in Defence Colony. The show at Shridharani Gallery of Triveni Kala Sangam on Tansen Marg (Mandi House) will span 17 days (November 14-30). The one at VAG Gallery will start on November 15 and last till December 12.

“Both exhibitions will serve as a sample of the master painter’s extraordinary style,” says VAG director Arun Vadehra, wVadehra Art Gallery to show A Ramachandran’s pandemic-time paintingsho founded the gallery in 1987.

Of the 13 paintings, eight will be on the Ashta Nayikas. However, this series by Ramachandran tends to break the exalted status the heroines (nayikas) enjoy in the ancient Natya Shastra written by Bharata Muni. “It’s not just beautiful people who fall in love,” notes the 86-year-old Ramachandran, about the paintings that show faces of Bhil tribal women of northwest India. “Hence the word ‘subaltern’.”

Points out art historian Rupika Chawla: “Black humour and irony are intrinsic to Ramachandran and to his creative programming,” adding that the artist typically goes for “playful use of visual expression.”

As for the ‘Lotus Ponds’, the sprawling water-bodies of Rajasthan have for long been another obsession of Kerala-born Ramachandran. “The artist’s ‘Lotus Ponds’ are not preachy,” says Prof Siva Kumar of Santiniketan from where Ramachandran undertook advanced art studies in the early 1960s. “They invite us to engage deeply, to see, and to acknowledge.”

Ramachandran, who is a native of Attingal near Thiruvananthapuram, did his Masters in Malayalam literature before leaving for West Bengal in 1957 to enroll as a student at Rabindranath Tagore’s famed institution. He has been a Delhiite since the mid-1960s, having taught at Jamia Millia Islamia. A Padma Bhushan awardee, he is also a winner of prestigious honours such as the Kalidas Samman and the Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram.