Mumbai Art Sighting
July – August 2011
by Jasmine Shah Varma
Remembering MF Husain
On the evening of July 6th Jahangir Art Gallery's air conditioned section was packed with no place to stand. Hundreds gathered in memory of MF Husain. His family, friends, art collectors, industrialists, gallerists, art dealers, art students, members of the press all gathered to pay homage to the most celebrated and famed artist of India. The walls were covered with enlarged newspaper cuttings, a slide of images of Husain was running on a large screen and his Golden Bear winning film 'Through the Eyes of a Painter' was also played. Showing the short film on this occasion was an apt gesture to encapsulate Husain's art and personality.
The screening was followed by speeches by various speakers who closely knew him and his work. Adi Jehangir, chairman of Jehangir Art Gallery was the first and he reminisced how Husain and KH Ara were primarily instrumental in establishing the Jehangir Art Gallery. Theatre director Nadira Babbar recalled how Husain always visited unannounced and hardly ever kept up with appointments. She recalled the incident when he painted the door of their residence on finding a lock. From his famous habits, things he often said, his role in raising the abysmally low price points of Indian art with his courageous conviction, poems written on him, what he meant to his family, what he longed for after his self-exile from India a gamut of thoughts, experiences, and memories were shared by Dadiba Pundole, Shobhaa De, Prabhakar Kolte, Prafulla Dhanukar, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Bakul Patel, Owais Husain and Ram Rahman. With each speaker's account emotions were roused in the packed exhibition hall.
The Guild Art Gallery hosted a video art exhibition just like they did in the summer-monsoon months of 2010. This year's Video and Animation Film Festival (VAF) was curated by Johny ML and featured work by upcoming and established artists. While some of the films got one glued in spite of the length and the discomfort of standing in a gallery in front of a small screen with earphones there were other videos lacking in compelling content that didn't get as much attention. The subjects and themes varied some were concept oriented engagements others single narrative short films.
Young Mumbai based Aditi Chitre's animation film Journey to Nagaland (26 mins) was one such that got one involved in the animated narration of a young girl who has a strange dream about her mother and a visit to Nagaland. Her other shorter perhaps naïve, but painterly, animated film The Mall on Top of My House also was captivating displaying Chitre's grasp of the medium and her creative imagination without getting heavy-handed about the content.
Also effective was Pooja Iranna's Swaas (3 mins 45 sec) where a concrete building expands and contracts like human breathing. Comparatively her other two films Another New Beginning and From the End to the End were not as impressive. All brought out her overarching concerns with urban architecture, landscape, development and nature.
Iram Ghufran's A Fence Gives Way, Vidya Kamat's All You Need is Love and Gigi Scaria's Political Realism were some of the others that powered the show. The exhibition concluded on July 15, 2011
The Oberoi Art Camp has become a tradition lasting 14 years. Every year a group of artists are invited to stay at the hotel for an art camp. In an assigned room they make works of art together, share stories, techniques and leisure time for a week. At the end of that a reception is held for art enthusiasts and collectors.
This year the camp was held between July 18 to July 24, 2011 featuring Jayashree Chakravarty, Chandra Bhattacharjee, Binoy Varghese, Rajan Krishnan, Ganesh Gohain, Rajnish Kaur, Santana Gohain, Minal Damani, Manish Pushkale and Puneet Kaushik among others. A mix of artists practicing different in genres and from various parts of the country were brought together by Vibhu Kapoor of Gallery Beyond, Mumbai who organises the camp every year.
Looking Back 40 years of Love with B & W Photography was Mumbai based photographer Jagdish Agarwal's solo show at Jehangir Art Gallery. He's been taking photographs for the last four decades and over time has gone over the same subjects and themes. In this exhibition he showed three photographs of certain locations taken after gaps of years providing a historical narrative of the place and its surroundings.
Through this exhibition Agarwal aimed to encourage the layman to collect fine-art photograph by starting his price point at Rs 500 for a small print. The exhibition concluded on July 31, 2011