Tranquility on a Canvas

Tranquility on a Canvas

Stories of Invocation,a new art show at Tao Art Gallery,explores the concept of shakti

The legend goes that Mahishasur,the king of asuras,declared war against the gods to avenge his father’s death. To fight him,the devas — Brahma,Shiva and Vishnu — pooled in their powers to create the mother of protection,goddess Durga. The goddess with her shakti defeated the demon in a battle of nine days which is celebrated as Navratri. As the city celebrates the festival,the Tao Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition by two artists — Rini Dhumal and Seema Kohli

titled “Stories of Invocation” around the concept of shakti. Through their exhibition they narrate the stories of gods,goddesses and ordinary beings that invoke faith and power.

An interesting contrast is seen through the artists’ work. Though they talk of the shakti of goddess Durga,the artists make no reference to destruction or violence.

For Dhumal,strength comes through serenity. The artist,who has held over 25 solo exhibitions in India and abroad,has painted women doing their daily chores and household duties. “But with the passage of time,the women in my paintings have achieved a state of meditation. They look serene and peaceful. This contentment is a very strong and powerful feeling of having seen through your responsibilities,” says the 65-year-old artist based out of Vadodara. “This for me is a version of shakti.” The gaze of the women in her paintings is almost hypnotic and their stance is pronounced. Dhumal uses rustic blues,browns and yellows in her paintings such as Shakti,Devi or Tribute to Goddess of Learning which she associates with maturity and age.


While Dhumal uses repose to denote power,Kohli’s canvases use different stories from Hindu mythology to assert the power of faith. There is an instant appeal in her paintings in the brilliance of colour and intricacy with which she fills the space around her characters.

For instance,in Buddha she narrates the story of his Nirvana. With great amount of detail she has sketched Bodhi trees and the fauna that have come together as a celebration of enlightenment. “Faith is the bloodline that runs through all my work and I use myth and fantasy for storytelling,” says the 53-year-old artist from New Delhi. “So I depict stories such as the Krishna Rasa,Vishnu’s Matsya avatar or even goddess Laxmi emerging from the churning of

the oceans.”

The show will continue at the Tao Art Gallery in Worli till October 15.