HYDERABAD: Showcasing works of artist Adarsh Baji, who has delved deep into the ideas and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and paid his humble tribute through his mesmerising artworks, Kalakriti Art Gallery inaugurated an exhibition titled ‘Give Peace A Chance’ on Monday.
The artistic tribute critically engages with Gandhian philosophies, reflecting on his enduring impact and the contemporary relevance of his ideals.
Born in 1982, Adarsh Baji is an artist with experience in several visual arts media. He was the recipient of the Krishnakriti Foundation Scholarship from 2004-2009, during which time he received his BFA from Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University and his MFA from the University of Hyderabad.
The present body of work continues his earlier engagement with the image of Gandhi and his concepts of peace. Mahatma Gandhi as a person, his views, and his engagement with the public have been an intriguing phenomenon for Baji.
“My work mainly with charcoal, although I have tried my hand at various mediums. I started delving into Gandhi’s ideas ten years ago and the focus for this exhibition was to create something rooted in history and something which is relevant to India. I have been working on these paintings for the past six months,” said Baji.
One look at his intricately detailed sketches that reflect on the life-size image of the thin, frail man with his ideas taking dominance over the world, one can notice the massive impact of the Mahatma on the artist too. “The image of Gandhi offers me multiple possibilities for understanding myself and my surroundings. I started to use images of Gandhi which are already in the public domain and are very popular. These images are also iconic, as they have brought together his thoughts and life concretised in those frames,” Baji added.
“When the world focused on differences and conflicts, Gandhi always talked about peace. This adamant position on peace was his weapon and armour. I have used this peace as a weapon against violence in many works. He could easily make these violent machines of killing defunct with his flowery acts of peace. Likewise, his famous metaphor of the three monkeys is shown as performing the acts of hearing, seeing and talking. Rather they seem to be in a puzzle of what is to be done next, it’s a question for all of us, what the monkeys have to do when the messiah has left us. When the whole world salutes Gandhi for his thoughts and acts, are we respecting our great saint and messiah of peace? Is there a chance to revive his thoughts and actions in our life?” the artist questioned.
The exhibition elucidates the premise that Gandhi’s presence is far from being fixed in time and space, as these artworks not only depict moments in history associated with Gandhi but also resonate with contemporary critical thinking by staging imaginary encounters, creating an opportunity for a renewed search and investigation into received notions of agency, action and freedom.
“I saw Baji’s sketch of the three monkeys and it became my absolute favourite. I asked him to work more on Gandhi’s images seeing his interest in the subject and after three years of hard work, this exquisite collection is the result,” said Rekha Lahoti, Baji’s mentor.
Rekha recollected how Baji had struggled in his pursuit to bring out the best in him. His prowess is in continuous refinement of his work, said Lahoti. “It is very important for the growth of an artist, to give them the time they need for exploration.
He is comfortable with charcoal as a medium. What is unique is that his charcoal doesn’t look like charcoal. He has created his own new medium,” she added. Now based in Baroda, Adarsh Baji is skilled in painting, drawing murals (paintings on walls), printmaking and sculpting. The exhibition will be open to all till October 18 at Kalakriti Art Gallery.