‘Explore your passion before you dive into it fulltime’ – Ruby Jhunjhunwala, ceramic artist
In our first photo essay on the ceramic art exhibition Bowl’d Over, we feature some of the stunning installations along with artist insights on passion and profession.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 290 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The second annual edition of the ceramic art exhibition Bowl’d Over kicks off this week at Gallery Manora in Bengaluru (see our coverage of the 2018 edition here). The featured artists are Adil Writer, Anubha Jaswal, Gary Hambleton, Gukanraj K, Japneet Keith, Mahima Singh, Neha Gawand Pullarwar, Pritpal Singh, Ruby Jhunjhunwala, Sabrina S, Saraswati R, Sejal Sethi, and Srinia Chowdhury.
The appropriately titled exhibition features a range of ceramic objects that go beyond traditional notions of functionality. Priced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 50,000, they are tagged with intriguing names: Fireflies, Dervishing Tagine, Splash, Narratives, Kaia, Contained Content, Those Five, Tea Totaller, Liquid Matter, and the inevitable Untitled. In Part II of this photo essay, we will feature more creative highlights along with insights from gallery founder-director Gomathi Suresh.
Ceramic art takes humble clay to new directions, according to Adil Writer, an architect from Mumbai who has been based in Auroville for the last 20 years. He offers a number of tips to aspiring artists. “Go with what you want to do in life. You don’t need to get stuck with what you set out with in your first job or degree,” Adil advises.
He started off with architecture but has subsequently taken up painting, sculpture and ceramics. His journey in 2018 took him for residencies and conferences to Italy, Taiwan, Singapore and the Caribbean islands. Adil’s collaborations with other artists include a joint exhibition with artist Laxma Goud at Pundole Art Gallery in Mumbai.
Art is not just about creating objects but tickling the thought process, Adil explains; art goads introspection and contemplation. He says he loves the “insta-joy” of seeing photos of his tableware in social media, leading to commissions for cafes and restaurants with master chefs.
Gukanraj K explains that though he has made countless bowls, he has now departed from the norm and added sculptural elements. His exhibited bowls reflect curvatures of the rising and setting sun.
Some of the more unusual forms are reflected in the ceramic works of Saraswati R, with bowls resting on tower-like objects. Mahima Singh injects elements of surprise onto the bowls with images of shoes, appliances and even underwear. Sejal Sethi’s pierced pots seem to come across as a combination of teapot and lamp.
Pune-based artist Ruby Jhunjhunwalla explains that the swirling forms in her works reflect how the artist and clay test each other’s limits. “Whatever, the answer, we still manage to create new languages, the forgiving clay and I,” she explains.
She was a science graduate, but was always “hands-on” with craft, and has explored forms like embroidery and murals as well. “Art makes me a better person. Ceramic art can be a soft and gentle art form, and brings people together in a positive way,” Ruby adds. There was something about clay which pulled her so strongly that she felt it was her destiny and not choice, she recalls.
“Clay allows you to feel freedom and fluidity. As soon as you touch it, your fingers start shaping it. There is no need to feel fear, clay forgives you and becomes one with you,” Ruby explains. Even simple clay forms look beautiful when you fire them in the kiln, she adds.
“Explore your passion before you dive into it fulltime,” she advises aspiring artists. “Self-sustenance as an artist is not easy, so you need to balance your material needs with what your heart tells you about art,” Ruby adds. It can help to have a side activity like teaching to keep you going till you decide to jump into it full-time.
“Success is feeling happy, and happiness comes from a sense of gratitude. This gratitude increases as you age, being grateful to be alive and enjoy creation. As you age, you learn to listen to your heart more than ever before,” Ruby signs off.
Now what have you done today to introspect and explore your creative side, and devote yourself to your passion?
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