Article by Priyanka Chandani published in Indulge, The New Indian Express

The month-long national art exhibition at Auroville is a reflection of Indian culture and mythology

The exhibition showcases the artwork of 90 eminent and emerging artists from 19 different states

For ages, Indian mythology and culture has inspired artists across genres. Whether it is celebrated painter Raja Ravi Varma or the contemporary art genius Maqbool Fida Husain, artists have been inspired by Indian history and culture. And bringing a similar flavour into the 21st-century artwork are 90 eminent and emerging artistes from 19 different states who are showcasing their artwork at the third National Painting Exhibition at Kalakendra Art Gallery in Auroville organised by Pondicherry Art Academy.

A glimpse into the exhibition at this huge art gallery transports you to the world of mythological tales that we grew up listening to from our grandmothers.  For instance, Manisha Koshariya’s mixed media paintings — Shiva-Shakti and Ardhnareshwar represent the strength and union of a man and a woman. “I wanted to showcase the traditional subject in a very contemporary way so that it can connect with the people,” says Manisha. Another work by Chennai-based artist Lakshmi Krishnamurthy exhibits Omkareshwar (Shiva’s shrine) and Vakrathunda — an extension of Panchabhutas, depicting the concept of the five elements of nature.

Using acrylics and oils, artist M Jothi’s painting depicts the traditional Indian woman in many shades. Showcasing an indigenous woman decked up in ornaments, the painting showcases the naive and the fierce side of a woman. Her calm and fragile personality is complemented with several metaphors like many hands behind her with various weapons emerging as the feminine epitome of strength like Goddess Durga. Adding the South Indian traditional touch to the artwork is a traditional lamp and rangoli (kolam). “I wanted to show her appearance as calm but I used the background and colours to show the brave and vibrant nature within her,” says Jothi.

Apart from the conventional ideas, some of the artists dove deep into the concepts of individuality and existentialism. Bengaluru-based artist

KG Lingadevaru’s artwork questions the idea of a search that never ends in an individual’s life. Showcasing two human figures in black and white, the painting depicts “the negative and positive side of thinking or the execution of thoughts that is part of every human relationship”. On the other hand, K K Segar’s painting titled One Way represents the birth of a living being through the mother’s womb against the backdrop of a giant structure of a black mountain.

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