Curated by Priyanka Banerjee, the multi-artist exhibition saw 45 contemporary artworks created by artists such as Uma Bardhan, Anindita Kishore, Zaheda Khanum, Meena Wason, Meghna Agarwal, Amit Kumar, Jasbir Bhamra, Nikun Aggarwal, Ruchi Sharma, Suhas Das, Seema Parveen, Mahender Rai, Nilay Sarkar, Mridul Chakraborty, Saswati Chaudhury, Rama Sharma, Naseem Khan, Reba Mandal and Punam Rai.
According to the curator of ‘Panorama-19’, which was held at the Open Palm Court Gallery, New Delhi, the use of the word panorama here referred to the unbroken view of subjects. The themes picked up by artists included contemporary issues of social relevance like globalisation, conservation of endangered species, spiritual harmony, flora and fauna of planet earth, and the awareness of life.
Speaking about the exhibition, Priyanka Banerjee shared optimism needed to revive the art world post-pandemic. “It was a challenging task to bring 20 artists together under one roof given the times we are in today. The fear of uncertainty has gripped the art industry especially after the apocalyptic second wave. However, the most important task was to overcome the fear and instil a sense of hope and positivity,” says Priyanka. “This exhibition is dedicated to the undying spirit and enthusiasm of a promising art community, which has been hit severely during the pandemic.”
All about planet E
Among the striking artworks at the exhibition are those by artist Amit Kumar, which highlight the present-day concern of the majestic royal Bengal tiger. He uses watercolour on paper to showcase the struggle of this endangered animal.
“Through my paintings, I am trying to awaken the conscience of the people towards this royal beast,” explains Amit. “I believe tigers have every right to live freely in their natural habitats just as do humans, and their survival is extremely important for our ecological balance. I have used red and blue hues in my work to symbolise the danger around the lives of these wild beasts and planet earth, respectively.”
Another artist paying homage to Mother Earth through his paintings is Kolkata-based artist Mridul Chakraborty. His works depict heritage buildings, old alleys and dilapidated buildings using mediums such as oil or acrylic on canvas, watercolour on paper and charcoal on paper.
“My mind is like a window that keeps appreciating small things I observe in nature. And nature in her unadulterated form, old alleys and beauty of the rising sun in the sky cast a spell on me, which I express in my works using different forms, shapes, and vibrant colours,” says Mridul.
The spiritual connection
Moving from nature to culture, artist Ruchi Sharma uses her art and the platform of the exhibition to display spiritual harmony inspired by Indian culture and tradition using acrylic on canvas.
“My art is all about visual symbols that mystify the mind and create curiosity. My search for mythological allegories has been continuously pushing me to know about the meaning of life and to establish a balance in between material and spiritual paths through my art,” points out Ruchi.
Then there is artist Rama Sharma’s oil on canvas art, which expresses modern communication as the central theme of her paintings.
“My paintings aim to provide a positive message on the importance of verbal and traditional forms of communication and how they are slowly being replaced by the digital age. Through my thought-provoking depictions, I wish to start conversations around the art of inner expression also known as samvaad, baat-cheet or Sandesh,” states Rama.
Art’s always been a potent medium to convey hidden signals of danger, and artist Meghna Agarwal Jain uses hers to create awareness around urbanisation and the effects of pollution.
“It is worrying how in the name of development we cut trees to create urban spaces that lead to the displacement and extinction of animals. And perturbed by such urbanisation and its toll on the fauna of the country, I’ve been working actively on the theme of globalisation using acrylic on canvas and oil on canvas as my medium,” says Meghna. “I also want to show how people have been messing up the oceans by throwing non-degradable waste material into the sea, which then affects the sea turtles and chokes them to death.”