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EXHIBITION “Kashi Ke Rang
January 9 @ 10:00 am - January 14 @ 7:00 pm
Description- EXHIBITION “Kashi Ke Rang: Of Faith and Festivities” solo show by Mamta Malhotra featuring resplendent canvases about Benaras under a Makar Sankranti Sky.
Benaras has been the muse for several artists over the centuries, but on Mamta Malhotra’s canvas, this holy city takes on a unique character. Showcasing a delicate balance between art and architecture, she views the city of temples through the kaleidoscope of Makar Sankranti, and captures the soul of Kashi in dazzling detail. Titled Kashi ke Rang: Of Faith and Festivities, this solo exhibition – the Benaras-based artist’s first in the city – includes oil & acrylics on canvas and sculptures in wood and metal
Says the Mumbai-born artist: “The striking skyline of Benaras is enveloped in a dazzling kite-filled sky on Makar Sankranti. Just as a kite soars high in the sky but is always grounded, albeit with a thin string, Benaras is rooted to its traditions and faith. As the city moves toward urbanization, we ponder how best to maintain our essence while embracing the future and respecting the limits of nature. Makar Sankranti epitomizes a time of hope, colour, and a promise of good times and sunshine. Also, this harvest festival marks the completion and beginning of a new cycle. We need to remind ourselves that we need to take sensibly from this planet, it is a finite resource. My work celebrates a coming of spring, blooming of flowers, an awakening of nature and a time of richness for this city that has been through a long and hard winter of neglect and deprivation.”
Incidentally, Malhotra, trained in architecture from the Chandigarh College of Architecture, before learning to paint and sculpt under the tutelage of Rameshwar Broota, Shobha Broota and Pradip Saxena at the Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi. Her works, hence, have a beautiful balance of artistic aesthetics and architectural lines. She has designed residences, art galleries, art residencies, boutiques, and numerous interior and landscape design projects. Dividing time between the oldest living city and some of the youngest modern cities has shaped her unique perception. Simplicity, integration with nature, relevance to our cultural identity and heritage are the trademarks of her work. She enjoys exploring the interplay of line, colour, form and texture through abstract studies and furniture design. In her dynamic mixed media pieces, she uses wood, canvas, paint, paper, ceramics and thread to add layers and dimension resulting in highly textural works that intrigue the senses.
In an oil painting titled Neelkanth Nagri, it is with an architect’s eye that she creates a composition formed by the juxtaposition of flat roofed, open terraced buildings, seemingly randomly built, and the spires of busy temples rising above them. “The chaos and disorder creates a pleasing visual harmony, situated on the banks of the revered Mother Ganges, and symbolises the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.”
In a 30 x 36 inch diptych titled Shree Vishwanathnagri Strotram, oil on canvas, Malhotra references a shloka composed by Adi Shankaracharya, which states that accumulated good karma of previous births gives you the privilege of living in Kashi and dying here assures you of moksha. A dip in the holy Ganga by all beings gives them the nature and form of Lord Shankar. “I have tried to express these feelings in this work, and used line and colour to show the deep rich soul of our ancient city.”
Life On The Ghats is inspired by an excerpt written by James Prinsep in 1820 describing the city in January. “Written 200 years ago, it is still current today and was probably true for the last 2000 years. This timelessness is inspiring for me. The people in these scenes are the lifeblood of the city. Ganga is central to their daily existence, even today in all seasons, their day starts with a holy dip at dawn, whether they live in the city or are pilgrims from across the country. It is a true reflection of a human’s reverence for nature. It is a real understanding on how life depends on the delicate balance between the earth, her seasons, and all her creatures. Sadly we seem to be slowly losing this connection of simplicity, beauty and balance.”
Riverscapes: Under a Makar Sankranti Sky is a series of paintings in acrylic that captures the festival of harvest, as a time of hope, color, and a promise of good times. “These feelings have been conveyed by the use of fresh colour and bold strokes, in various layers reminiscent of the kite filled sky, the water of the Ganges, and sunshine.”
View from the Ganges is a sculptural work that doubles up as a candle holder, created in teak, ceramic and mixed media that evokes the meandering lines of the shining blue waters of the Ganges, and the undulating skyline high above the river. “The stepped ghats are the inspiration behind this teak wood piece. The natural grains of organic growth of the silk like teakwood are nature’s reflection of the mighty Ganges.”
A series of oil painted antique wooden trunks titled Sankranti Chest (36″x 18″x 18.5″) is another work that celebrates the season of sunshine, “gulabi thand”, kites in the sky, flowers in the garden and migratory birds making the Ganges and Benaras their winter home. “This wooden chest is at least 60 years old, has travelled all over the country with my army family and been a witness to the wars of 65 and 71. This real treasure chest is my tribute to the sun, the seasons, and human endeavour.”
There are also detailed studies of bazaars, people, temples, ghats and other quintessential Benaras motifs in Malhotra’s oeuvre.
Mamta Malhotra has received an honours certificate from the Royal Drawing Society in London. She grew up amidst valleys, mountains and gardens in Kashmir, Poona, Gangtok and Bhutan before settling in Benaras post marriage in 1980. Her work has been featured in a New York Times bestseller coffee table book, the HarperCollins catalogue and Architecture Week magazine. In India her work has been mentioned in Design Today, Better Interiors, Femina, Spice Route, and a host of national magazines and newspapers. Her work has been earlier exhibited in group shows at the Visual Arts Gallery at the Habitat Centre, at the Triveni Kala Sangam annual exhibition, at the Art Laureate gallery, Lado Sarai, the Trump Tower, New Rochelle, USA, and other prestigious venues.
Date- 9th to 14th January 2018
Time- 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Venue- Open Palm Court Gallery, India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Parking : Gate No. 1, 2 & 3 (Cars), Gate No. 2 (Bikes & Bicycles)