According to Delhi-based artist Nidhi Rajput, “Artists are sensitive souls and art is a reflection of life. It thus becomes important for an artists’ work to convey a pertinent meaning.” The quintessential ‘creative sensitivity’ certainly surfaces more often than not during ‘Group 21’ – an exhibition, which brings together 21 artists from distinct regions under its ambit. From works on strong themes like Malala Yousafzai’s revolutionary crusade for education, to farmer suicides and Sufism, the exhibition on at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, offers a rich treat to the eyes.
As organiser-cum-artist SC Ahuja puts it, “The idea is to rekindle enthusiasm for creativity and make onlookers pick the deep message the artist wants them to take notice of.”
According to Ahuja, it is heart-warming to note heavy footfall for painting exhibitions. Another positive change the Parfulla Dhanaukar Art Foundation Gold medallist appreciates is that, “People are not just taking a look and leaving. They are curious to know the technicalities involved. They interrogate as to what inspired the artist to take to the canvas. All of that is really encouraging.”
Revealing the purpose behind holding the exhibition, he states, “One of the main motives for holding this exhibition is to promote artists who are lesser-known and give them their due.”
Satire on education
One of the artists, Lekh Ram, currently a Masters of Fine Arts student at Chandigarh’s Government College of Arts, pulls a scathing attack on privatisation of education. The lad with a distinct spark in his eyes shares that he looks up to the revolutionary zeal of Malala Yousafzai. “She is one of the pioneer crusaders for the promotion of female education. So, I took to my canvas to conjure images of school children to draw home Malala’s powerful plea.”
Sarwan Kumar from Chandigarh made his canvas a mouthpiece to bring to the fore how “drought casts suicidal shadow over farmers, to make people empathise with their tribulations.”
Beauty of everyday life
Highlighting the power of nature and bringing forth the aesthetic beauty of everyday life are artists Anil Kohli and Aashima Jain. While Kohli’s exhibits — Morning, noon and evening, make people take note of nature’s bounties, Aashima recreates scenes from still life. The exhibition, on at Panjab University’s Fine Arts Museum, concludes on April 8 at 5 pm.