Saw the opening of ‘Oil on Canvas’ yesterday. Subodh Gupta opened his solo show of sculptures last night at the Nature Morte, Delhi to a bustling crowd from all corners of the art fraternity in India and I am glad to have attended it. There were art collectors, gallery owners, curators, artists, rich folks and of course, some who were simply curious about his work. Here I also met with artists such as Nidhi Agarwal, a rising artist and Narayan Mondal, an established voice who expressed reservations about some of the works displayed. This was yet another layer of the Indian art scene that fascinated me, but this was one evening when I didn’t want to question anything. It was sublime and I simply wanted to enjoy it.
Indian kitchen utensils were there, his signature medium and this time they took the form of three eggs in an egg carton and a serpentine spewing out froth. There were also empty canvases on display and questions were raised about the meaning behind them. My favourite was ‘Twins’ two Indian tiffin-carriers in white placed on a huge box made of concrete. The man himself was there, gracefully networking, greeting and accepting warm reception from the crowd. I met him briefly at the show and congratulated him. Equally freaking was the fact that he was born and raised in the same little town as myself – Khagaul. This had to be the most fortuitous coincidences ever, proving the theory around six degrees of separation. I never thought that I would meet anyone from this little place – inconspicuous by all means and has no reason to produce famous sons. It made it more human talking to him about not just his art, but about his childhood, where he grew up and studied. I hope to see him again when we can have a little more relaxed conversation.
I came back to Sanskriti and in the dining hall, I got introduced to Rajesh Gopie, an established actor, director from South Africa by a resident theatre director Tina Johnson. A deeply inspiriting person who wants to produce a ‘heritage theatre festival’ in Durban. We had a long chat about the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’. In the end, he asked if I could help him structure the idea and develop the project. I thought it was a very interesting twist to the day and left me feeling hopeful.
Uncovering the layers have been one of the most unsettling parts of this placement and of late, I was beginning to get a little frustrated and even disillusioned about the Indian arts sector. But meeting someone like Rajesh Gopie lifted my spirits and I’m now looking forward to my lunch with Gigi Scaria today, a visual artist, who uses video and installation as a main medium of work. I'll keep you posted if I ever get to have that coffee with Subodh Gupta..
I read your blog first without the photos and thought how hard it is to describe modern art! Seeing the pieces; I am very impressed. It sounds as if you're having a stimulating and challenging time. We're looking forward to you coming back and injecting some of your inspiration into the arts scene in Newcastle!
Oscar Watson 1185 days ago
Three sector lead organisations, Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and the Museums, Libra ries and Archives Council have formed the Cultural Leadership Delivery Partnership, a unique cross-sector collaboration to support the Programme.