The Month That Was
by Franck Barthelemy
The city cool winter makes us feel like staying at home after six o'clock, relaxing on the sofa having a drink in good company. On the other hand the city's art programme these days pushes us to go out, participate to openings and visit exhibitions. Is this a struggle for the art lovers? There is a solution, it is called warm clothe! Pick up your best pashmina or wear the pull-over that you usually use once a year when you go to the hills and you're set for great evenings of enjoyment all around the city.
You can actually start the New Year with the just launched Double Road Art Walk, every second Saturday. On the way, you will stop at gallery SKE, 1 Shanti Road, Bar 1, Jaaga, Sumukha and Attakalari. In about 3 hours, you will be able to walk (an activity we have forgotten in Bangalore), stop at some of the best exhibitions the city can offer at any point of time, discover new artists and their new artworks and discuss about your discoveries with co-walkers. I hope this initiative will be a great success that will bring new viewers to the most dynamic art spaces of the city!
Very often the art community talks about Chinese arts. Very rarely, not to say ever, we have an opportunity to see Chinese art exhibitions in the city. Thanks to Tasveer, 6 emblematic Chinese photographers found their ways to Bangalore: Chu Chu and his stills of tools from the series It Is Not It, probably a homage to René Magritte; Liu Yue and her dream mountains made out of quilts; Luo Yongjin and his nouveaux-riches' residences; Ma Kang an her dreamlike cityscapes; Yang Yongliang and his floating city clouds; Yan Xinfa and his black & white close to perfection landscape. The styles are different. Each artist found a powerful way to deal with social issues in China. They might all have one feature in common: Shanghai. Most of them work out of Shanghai, the ultimate fast moving business city in China. A very eye opening show!
Sumukha invited Anurendra Jegadeva to present his Strange Paradise. Anurendra is a Malaysian artist exhibiting for the first time in India. He brought to us a selection of works capturing his immediate environment, whether it deals with news from Iraq he saw on TV or social issues he spots every day. Sharing his life between Australia and Malaysia adds a different angle in his narration, maybe a global touch.
The National Gallery of Modern Art put together Varna Mythri, a retrospective to celebrate Rumale Chennabasaviah's retrospective. Everything was set for Rumale to become a painter. After a year spent at CTI (Mysore), he abruptly stopped all studies to join the Satyagraha Movement and become a freedom fighter. After the independence, he remained a politician for about 30 years. When the party told him his time was over, the leader who had always been spiritual, decided to spend some time learning meditation from his Guru in Andhra Pradesh. He spent two years there, and came back to Bangalore to start painting for the last 20 years of his life. He captured Bangalore parks and gardens, houses and buildings, streets and landscapes in a very post-impressionist way using watercolours and oil. Every day, he used to take a rickshaw from his house in Rajajinagar, with his easel on his back and his colours in his bag, to reach the spot he had investigated before. Surely a surprising show, on for the whole month of January.
Time & Space organized Dhiraj 75 to celebrate Dhiraj Choudhury's 75th birthday. As usual, his canvases are ethnic and colourful, an ambiance that has become his signature style for many years.
The Jagriti theatre produced and showed Lysistrata, a play by the Greek author Aristophane. Jeff Teare adapted and directed the play to make it a hilarious comedy. Lysistrata is a young and beautiful girl who is fed up seeing the young and handsome men of her country going to war and die. So she proposes to all the women a sex strike to make them stay. No sex if you fight. Make peace, not war. Absolutely fabulous!
The fundraising gallery Swasti invited over 30 print-makers to display their works in Impressions. Jyoti Bath, Laxma Goud, Palaliappan, Rini Dhumal and all the others have accepted the invite to sell their art for a cause: helping the financially challenged cancer patients to pay for their bills. An initiative to support!
And last but not least, SKE displayed Sudarshan Shetty's latest works, Listen Outside This House. In three installations, the artist plays with words and objects. He associates them and creates meanings, meanings that we usually don't expect. Thus, he creates a new world for the objects that the viewers will appropriate on the basis of their own experiences, memories or imagination. The artist makes us stand on the thin border between absurdity and gravity. He makes us smile with the postcard he sends us under the locked huge wooden door, as if we were some kind of expected visitors without appointment but clearly noticed by the absent host. He makes us emotional with the two human size wall fountains facing each other, bearing two sentences where each letter dispenses respectively blood and milk drops. He makes us part of his home universe with his signature wood pavilion. The exhibition is throughout January. Not to be missed!