A group of Indian contemporary artists have come together for The Singular & The Plural, a gripping exhibition of multimedia works currently on view at 1x1 Gallery in Dubai. The show takes a glaring look at the partition of the Indian subcontinent through the eyes of artists such as Bikash Battacharjee, Krishan Khanna and Jogen Chowdhury.
Jamini Roy. Three Ladies. Tempera on board. 30x46cm
Curated by Sveta Pinrenu, the exhibit features an array of vibrant paintings and intricate tapestries that are a thoughtful depiction of the socio-political issues that marred the Indian subcontinent in the wake of the 1947 independence.
The works suggest linguistic, cultural and religious traditions and issues of caste that are still prevalent in Indian politics. They also chart present-day India, casting light on the impact of British colonialism, remnants of which are still evident in how art is perceived in the country. From Jamini Roy’s abstract portrayal of everyday life in India to the sweeping landscapes by M.F. Hussain, the works show the breadth of artistic diversity that exists in modern-day India. Artists such as F.N. Souza’s warped Green Head and Nilima Sheikh’s dynamic Man Giving Woman The Moon and The Woman Giving Man The Earth are examples of how the artists on display differ stylistically, yet they all manage to have a bright colour scheme that unifies them.
M.F. Husain. Untitled. Oil on canvas. 122x145cm. Circa 1970s
These works offer colourful depictions of a society struggling to seek freedom amidst conflict and despair. Ankuran by S.H. Raza, an abstractive pattern that is influenced by Indian cosmology, is created using a rich colour palette, comparable to several other artists that are showcased in the exhibition. Despite the hardships that prevail in India and their throughtful portrayal in each work, the colour palette itself suggests a harmonious mix akin to the secularism that binds the nation into one solid structure.
Krishen Khanna. Untitled. Oil on canvas. 91x61cm
The multitude of styles and subject matter that are showcased implies that there is no one distinct form to Indian art, and that a single national ideology is merely a myth.
The Singular & The Plural runs until 28 February at 1x1 Gallery in Dubai. 1x1artgallery.com