Leading the way The installation 'Ram Setu' by Adwaita Gadanayak on display at the group art exhibition 'Lok Mein Ram'
The ambience at the group art exhibition “Lok Mein Ram” mounted at the newly inaugurated New Delhi-based Sanskar Bharati Kala Sankul is divine and aesthetic. The reason is that the 25 artworks and one installation – all exquisite and engaging -- at Sankul’s maiden exhibition are all devoted to Lord Ram and Ramayana, one of India’s holiest scriptures.
On till April 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the exhibits give viewers a glimpse of varied facets of God and his life. All the artworks are acrylic on canvas barring one.
The first display to catch immediate attention is the “Ram Setu”, with the words Ram forming a trail to follow across the wooden benches covered with glass. It has been done by the Director-General of National Gallery of Modern Art, Adwaita Gadanayak. The placement of padukas (wooden footwear) gives it an authentic touch! The work stresses emphatically that even though he was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Ram in human form had to make an effort to reach Lanka.
Gamut of emotions
Continuing with the human dimension of the God, there were other works that brought alive a gamut of emotions. Kishan Soni’s “Balroop Ram” shows him as a child exuding innocence, and adorned with jewellery, as the eldest prince should be, while playing with the wooden toys, like an elephant and horse, as the parrots watch him in awe.
The exact opposite of this work is Bhargav Kumar Kulkarni’s “Sita Viyog”. The distraught Ram looks every bit a husband, desperately in search of his abducted wife. He appears to be appealing to the Heavens above to intervene and help. Behind him, there is Lakshman, resting his hand against a tree, in sheer dejection.
The courage and strength of Ram are nicely portrayed in two works, namely, Vijay Chandrakanth Jadav’s “Divya Aashtra” and “Shiv Dhanush” by Abhishek Acharya. The latter shows the Prince resplendent in regal finery, without much of an effort, lifting the legendary bow of Lord Shiva. The setting in the background, all in red and golden hue, gives one the feeling of actually watching Sita’s swayamvar!
The other work portrays Ram, a devoted student, with his hands folded in front of his Acharya, praying for divine weapons. What strikes the viewer is how the artist has used the divine arrow with a golden aura around it to light up the whole canvas!
Ram With Sabri Mata
Bringing into focus how Ram was a true egalitarian, are artworks “Ram With Sabri Mata” and “Ram With Ramnami Tribal Man” by Balaji Ubale, and “Sabri Tapasya” and “Ahilya Udhaar” by Kudlaya M. Heeremath. The first one shows Ram about to eat the fruit first tasted by Sabri to ensure that it is sweet, while the other shows him hugging a tribal devotee with all his love! The third shows Sabri welcoming Ram in her humble abode with complete love and devotion. In the last, the beautiful Ahilya is redeemed by God’s touch. In both paintings, Ram’s humbleness comes across as he greets Sabri and Ahilya with folded hands.
True devotee Hanuman
Regarded as the complete devotee of Ram, Hanuman too is the subject of some paintings. In “Lanka Dahan” by Lalchandra Suryavanshi he is shown in his mammoth size, burning the Ravana’s capital to ashes. The artist brings out the power and strength of the devotee in all its glory in yellow and gold.
Two works are absolutely stunning in their colour and depiction. Ganesh Kalskar “Mareech Vadh” showing the golden deer (Mareech) being hunted by Ram. The deer in shining yellow stands out in the dense foliage of the jungle. Vijay Chandrakanth Jadav’s “Ravan Jatayu Yudh” gives one the feel and impact of aerial warfare. In the glare of sunlight, the legendary bird attacks Ravan who is abducting Sita.
Ravan Jatayu Yudh
Return of Ram
Dinakar Janmali artwork "Ayodhya Agaman" in pen and ink, in black and white stands out among all the acrylic on canvas works. Abroad the pushpak viman, Ram, Sita and Lakshman with Hanuman guiding the viman is beautifully etched and looks exquisite. The artist’s other work “Ayodhya Return” in a modern style, is a fine mix of colours – blue, white, brown, yellow and grey – showing the people of Ayodhya rejoicing on the arrival of their beloved King.
Organised by Lalit Kala Akademi and Naimisharanya Foundation, the displayed works were all created at a workshop organised last year at Ayodhya by these two organisations. Held from March 1 to 5, 2020, at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, the workshop saw participation by artists specialising in realistic art, who truly brought alive the life of the God.