THE strokes, textures, colours are waiting to exhale, as are the artists, looking to create an impression with their paintings, sculptures and photographs on the the opening day of Committed Statement, an exhibition of artworks by 20 young artists, who were given scholarships by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.
The Akademi gives merit scholarships (Rs 10,000 a month each) to 10 young artists under the age of 30 every year to encourage and support young talents to pursue creative work in the direction and medium of their choice.
The selection is done by a jury with the chosen artists describing the exhibition as a platform to reach out to new audiences, and the scholarships awarded a chance and freedom to explore and experiment.
With as many as 67 works on display by the scholarship holders of the last two years, Committed Statement has artists working with ball-point pens, paper pulp, bedsheets, wooden blocks on board to create unique motifs and idioms.
Mandeep Singh works with marble of different colours to create sculptures that largely depict the human form. A portrait of a joker in black marble, an alien with headphones and a woman in all her beauty – captured the sculptor’s thoughts.
“As you see, the joker’s lips have been sewed or sealed. Without showing his feelings and emotions, he makes people laugh. The alien doesn’t look any different from us, we all are aliens to each other,” Singh said.
Another artist, Tarsem Singh, uses stones to create layers that tell a story and titles it the Unfolded Story. In the sculpture Bread and Butter, the painter, filmmaker and sculptor expresses our constant fight for survival and terms it “the story you really don’t know”.
Harpal’s installation in wood is a Dream, with a man and a woman resting in their own worlds and spaces.
Using wooden blocks on board, with subtle colours, Jagdeep Singh creates a portrait, while Sonal Garg’s “rotis” made with mix media on paper, in the same shape and size, have different meanings – mehnat ki roti, ma ke haath ki roti, hamari roti.
Hardev Singh’s metaphor is thread, as he weaves intricate patterns in his works, be it spiritual thread or my mother’s hand.
In a series of thought-provoking works, Ravinder Singh creates the rural areas of Punjab, where he grew up, and how the farms are slowly and steadily being transformed into concrete jungles, and the many nilaamis that take place of not just homes, but the many elements that thrive and live in these spaces.
Raj Kumar, too, revisits the simple life of Punjab’s villages in his art, which does not depict any human form.
Rahul Dhiman, who has also won a scholarship from the National Lalit Kala Akademi, continues his journey and search for meaning in his art, following his unlimited dreams, finding a destination, a centre, with railway tracks being a constant in his work. “I am working with paper pulp to create new works, and it is a challenging medium, as I am not using any machines, but creating the many layers with hand,” said Dhiman.
On another journey is Rajinder Kaur, whose work is defined by the image of sewing machines, an ode to her mother, ‘beginning to end’.
Manuk Prashar’s series of three works ‘Dawn to Dusk’ delved into the woods and experience light, as Ashok Das searches for empty spaces to experience joy and meaning in life in A-2-B, “we live in boxes, and to find new energy, enlightenment, freedom to think, act, we need to empty our minds and heads.”
Using ball-point pens, Sandeep Kumar traces his movement from Bandra to Chandigarh, and then finding solace in nature. “It’s a tough medium, for you can’t make any corrections, but I love the intricacy in the work the pens create,” he said.
The exhibition is on at Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 till August 7.