Indian Art Summit 2009

It was the annual event Art lovers were eagerly awaiting. New Delhi recently hosted an extraordinary event: the India Art Summit. Held at Pragati Maidan, it showcased a variety of Art works ranging from larger than life installations and sculptures to contemporary paintings from over fifty galleries. It also introduced new artists and their masterpieces.

This annual event was a culmination of Art over a four day period from 19th August 09 to 22nd August 09. This international fair attracted art enthusiasts, collectors, critics and students. It had a universal appeal with artworks from countries like Germany, China, Turkey and India to name a few and included paintings, sculptures, photography, prints and video art which added to its richness and diversity. Unique art forms such as mixed media utilising an assortment of materials such as fabric and steel were popular.

Artist Sayed Haider Raza’s work from the Delhi Art Gallery was featured as well. Born in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh, he is one of the founding members of the Progressive Artists group in Bombay. His abstract paintings revitalised art, making metaphorical references to life. The use of riotous and bold colours and contrasts shaped the canvas well. Different works expressed different meanings, inspired by complex and simple ideologies and themes. They visually created a dramatic effect and symbolised an assortment of subjects.

His works seemed to communicate messages through their visual language. There was an array of styles from both east and west, which expressed stylised and abstract forms. The paintings exuded an innocent charm through their depictions. Simplistic and minimalistic works and taglines juxtaposed complex representations.
The summit featured two of his works, both untitled, which inculcated the use of acrylic on canvas. The brush strokes are applied expansively and freely. A variety of themes can be seen in his work ranging from nature to an urban setting. “My work is my own inner experience and involvement with the mysteries of nature and form which is expressed in colour, line, space and light’ says Raza.

Various styles were displayed, some graphic in nature and others infantile. Variety in modern art could be seen extensively. It was occasionally challenging to extract meaning out of a creation with spectacular detailing. Some ideologies were out of the box and eccentric. These concepts were unconventional and conspicuously unusual. Some were prominent and caught the crowd’s attention due to their bright and fluorescent colours.

The compelling pieces left the story incomplete and left the onlooker guessing and curious. They demonstrated the true modern artist, awakening the artistic consciousness in the viewers. Experiments and explorations had a contemporary edge. They seemed to have an energy of their own, even if they were insignificant objects found in nature. “Nature as ‘Prakriti’, the supreme generating force, the energy contained inside the seed- transformed my concept of ‘nature- seen’ to nature- imagined’. They were innovatively put together adding an interesting element to the overall concept. Optical illusions and unusual deceptions utilising the line form were included in his work and were quite captivating. Due to his use of abstract style, his works have often been called ‘formless in form’. “The quest of the essential obsessed me. The revelation of Indian concepts, iconography, signs and symbols fortified the search” says Raza.
The gallery also included other works by Jamini Roy, Pratha Pratim Deb, G R Santosh, Atlaf and many more. These artists come from all over India bringing their own unique style forward, some introducing new styles altogether. S H Raza’s contemporary counterparts’ works make for an interesting comparison. The complex works of Atlaf depict multiple images with similar themes. Atlaf stated “To explore a whole set of ideas within say a five by four feet space is a far greater challenge…social, political, sexual or personal, it is within the confines of the bound canvas that the artist has to travel beyond, through his own resources of dialectics”.
This event exhibited unparalleled creativity, encouraged art appreciation and inspired successive generations of artists. It has definitely produced many more art enthusiasts and promises to continue doing so in years to come!

Shirin Khara

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