Art On My Walls

India has a thriving contemporary art scene and some of the big names such as M F Hussein and Tyeb Mehta have fetched huge sums in auctions worldwide. Since I cannot afford even the serigraphs of these master painters, I shall use Ailsa’s travel theme to intoduce you to some comparitively lesser known artists, whose works hang on my walls.

The seed for my modest art collection was sown nearly two decades ago when I spotted this vibrant 11″ x 8″ gouache at an exhibition by an (then) unknown artist called Vaikuntam. The contorted, swarthy ‘Telengana’ woman was his trademark and I fell in love with her and would have happily bought the entire lot if only I had the means. R wasn’t convinced of course and never believed in art as investment. Big mistake. Vaikuntam is a respected senior artist now, and our princely (at the time) outlay of Rs.1000 (approx US$20) has multiplied 200 times!!

This 30″ x 24″ Indian ink and charcoal work is by a Bengali artist called Sunil Das who is better known for his bulls. Again we fell for the startled expression on this handsome creature’s face and took the plunge.

Another paper work – an 8″ x 6″ ink and water colour – by yet another senior South Indian artist named Laxma Goud. I love that goat in the foreground and the details on the lady’s blouse. (The shadow on the left is a reflection of the wall opp.)

I bought this 4′ x 2′ oil on canvas by a young Bengali artist Mrutyunjay Mondal, online and love its depiction of the Bhuddha and the attainment of Nirvana. It takes pride of place above my purple sofas (yes purple! The exact same shade as in the bottom corner of the painting :-)) in my living room and complements the Buddha heads I have around the house.

This 18″ x 12″ water colour is titled ” Remembrance of a forgotten past” and shows utensils that were in use in our childhood homes! The Maharashtrian artist – Gopal Adivrekar – is the chairman of the Bombay Art Society, and somehow did not appreciate as much as the others, but I am particularly fond of this piece.

This rather colourful 4′ x 2′ oil on canvas by a very senior Bengali artist, Paritosh Sen is the only one we bought purely as investment (!) and does not reflect my personal aesthetic at all.

Another favourite – a 60″ x 20″ oil on canvas titled “Good news” by a young Maharashtrian artist named Sanjay Sable. He specialises in heads and I have been eyeing his new Bhuddha series

A subject we all love. K R Santhanakrishnan, a local artist, paints doors. I bought these three 12″ x 12″ canvases when he was still undiscovered for a total of Rs 5000 (US$100) in 2004! He is quite sought after these days. He frames his new works in  interesting antique looking window frames, some with one shutter still attached.

And finally, the most valuable piece in my collection, one of two that hang over my desk……..

……An ambulance drawn and coloured by my older grandson when he was barely 4 years old! The zebra figure on the left is a sticker embellishment. And why is there a gap between the vehicle and the road? Well can’t you see the potholes on the surface? :-)

A sad commentary by a toddler on the infrastructure of a country whose art is impeccable.

PS: Apologies for the wonky perspective of the paper works. I had to shoot at an angle to avoid my reflection in the glass and then crop the imags. Some reflection still managed to creep in :-(

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