Starting this week Delhi-based Gallery Espace is hosting one of the most ambitious art shows ever, to mark its 25th anniversary celebration. Featuring drawings by over hundred Indian contemporary artists spanning seven decades, the show titled Drawing 2014 has been co-curated by Prayag Shukla along with Annapurna Garimella and Sindhura Jois DM from Jackfruit Research and Design and is on display at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts till November 28.
From stalwarts like Jogen Chowdhury, Ganesh Pyne, Somnath Hore and Bhupen Khakar to the younger ones like Mithu Sen, Manjunath Kamath and Rollie Mukherjee, the show captures the staggering diversity in drawing as an art practice.
Gallery Director Renu Modi says, “Artists bare their souls in drawings — these are like musical notes or mental notes that artists create. Drawings are the foundation of any art. Also, the approach to drawings has changed so much that they are no longer pen and ink works, or mere sketches on paper. For instance, in this show, while we have classically minimalist works by Somnath Hore, there are also embroidered drawings by Rakhi Peswani, print-based scrolls by Paul Sengupta, and even a video by Sonia Khurana — all celebrating drawings.”
Modi recalls that it was the legendary M F Husain who introduced her to the finer nuances of drawings and the intimate, small format nature of this genre.
Gallery Espace, in fact, held a show on drawings as far back as 1994 and it’s only natural that its 25th anniversary show should celebrate the genre with greater aplomb.
“Apart from the fact that drawing is my personal favourite genre in art, there was another reason for doing this show,” says Modi. “It was due to the boom in the market that people forgot works on paper but I wanted to showcase the immense evolution that has taken place in drawings in the last seven decades. I also wanted to bust the myth that one cannot invest in drawings.”
Along with works on single sheets of paper, there will be artists’ books, studies on other projects, multiples, laser drawings, animation and more.
Says curator Annapurna Garimella, “Drawing as a form of visual art has several meanings. It can be a form of communication, a sign, a plan, a design, a map or a mark on the surface. Drawing is regarded as an essential part of training for any artist whether they are painters, sculptors or designers. It is a basic tool for conceiving and preparing any work. But a drawing can also stand as the final art work.
“In recent years, the methods and meanings of drawing have been rapidly transforming as Indian artists continue to participate in the global circuit of exhibitions, biennales and art fairs as well as residencies and site-specific projects. Drawing 2014 maps the multiple routes that the practice has travelled and celebrates seven decades of experimentation,” she continued.
There will be several collateral and outreach events that will reflect on the significance of drawings in art and other disciplines. There will also be a guided tour of the show for school children with curator Prayag Shukla on November 29.
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)