Between the lines

Childhood, nostalgia, lockdown, migrant crisis... Artists put pencil to paper to explore a range of topics at this ongoing exhibition of drawings in the city 

Published: 12th January 2021 06:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2021 06:47 AM   |  A+A-

Works of Mohit Mahato

Express News Service

BENGALURU: When it came to holding their first exhibition – not just of the year but also post the start of the pandemic – Gallery Sumukha’s team knew they’d like to do something different. This eventually gave way to The Drawing Show, an ongoing exhibition at the gallery located in Wilson Garden. Such was the response by artists that the show had to be split into two, where the first will feature works by budding artists till Jan. 25, and part-2 will start in three weeks with a lineup of works by mid-career and senior artists. 

“You find many shows on paintings or sculptures and only a few on drawing so we wanted to encourage the latter,” says gallery director Premilla Baid. She continues, “You need not be very skilled with painting but drawing, on the other hand, really shows how good you are as an artist.” 

The lineup features artists from different parts of the country like Hyderabad, Baroda, Lucknow and Bengaluru – all of them exploring a range of topics. For instance, Mohit Mahato’s works focus on images from his childhood, his navigation of the city, and cultural shocks one faces while assimilating. He has submitted two works – watercolour and pencil on paper.

Mohit Mahato

“They are juxtapositions I’ve made between images of uranium mines in my hometown Jamshedpur, which I grew up hearing stories about, and stories about my father’s contractual projects, with the flora found around houses in urban colonies in Bangalore, and how people seemed to construct their houses without harming the plants around it.” Talking about his decision to participate in the exhibition, Mahato explains how drawing is a fundamental process that precedes the production of paintings, sculptures or prints. “It was interesting to see the artists who practise various things strip down to the basics of drawing and be displayed in one physical space,” he adds. 

Nostalgia also reigns in two of A Naveen Kumar’s artworks. Called Magical Stories for My City I & II, these have been made with cartography drawing on rice paper, using watercolour and graphite. The works speak about his childhood and the food from the places he spent it in. His other two works, ‘I couldn’t write poetry, so I decided to be a poem I & II’, are also graphite and watercolour drawing on rice paper but these are pasted on plates instead.

“It is an expression of my life post the pandemic. I was initially frustrated but within 20 days, I had a routine of waking up at 6 to start drawing/painting or sculpting, going back to the studio for research, and working till night. When I look back at the works produced during this time, they are more fruitful, they were about getting deeper within myself,” says the city-based artist. 

While Kumar turned his lens inwards, Sonal Varshney drew inspiration from an outdoor occurrence. Called ‘Constantly Moving’, her works show the feet of the migrant women who walked to their homes during the lockdown. “In our country, the feet of women are worshipped, and we have an ancient tradition of touching the feet and taking blessings,” she says, adding that people may connect with it too.” 


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