Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 475 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.
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru recently hosted two exhibitions on Indian art, titled Golden Age (featuring the works of Shyam Kumavat) and Ethnic Rhythm 3 (featuring Mahavir Verma and Mukesh Bijole). Art teacher Shyam Kumavat studied in Jalgaon and is now based in Nasirabad, Maharashtra.
Madhya Pradesh’s acrylic painter Mukesh Bijole has exhibited in Indore, Ujjain, Bhopal, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Bikaner, Jabalpur, and Bhilai. In the exhibition brochure, art critic Ashok Bhowmick describes Mukesh as “an artist of the masses.”
His artworks focus on processions of people, particularly from marginalised communities. “The time has come, when the artists from smaller and less privileged towns of India are out to claim their place in the contemporary Indian art scene,” Ashok writes.
(Note: The photographs in this pictorial essay were taken before the national lockdown due to the coronavirus. The visit to the gallery was not in violation of any public safety guidelines.)
Mahavir Varma was born in Lakheri in Rajasthan’s Bundi district. He has an MA in art from MDS University in Ajmer. He has exhibited in Bhopal, Delhi, Kolkata, Ujjain, Mumbai, Bikaner, and Jaipur.
“For me, art is everything in my life. It has built me day by day, and I explore my soul and express my feelings though my creations,” Mahavir explains, in a chat with YourStory. In his paintings, he uses ink and acrylic on paper and canvas.
He explains that his works celebrate the lives of subalterns of the social hierarchy, particularly the activities of children. “This conscious selection of subjects shadows the darker areas and brings forth the essence of juvenile fantasies. Over a decade, I have created a human form that has become my own signature style,” he adds.
Mahavir’s artistic journey of over 20 years began in 1999, and now spans more than 600 paintings in his technique. “I started my journey with black and white, and only occasionally add colours from time to time,” he explains.
He has a number of other planned projects, such as an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai. In addition to solo shows across the country, Mahavir has participated in international workshops. He calls for more art appreciation in India, not just as a form of storytelling but as a market as well.
Mahavir’s artworks are priced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 90,000. He is also pleased with the feedback he got at the Bengaluru exhibition. “The audience reaction to my exhibition was very encouraging. They appreciate my creative style and unique technique,” he proudly says.
He also offers advice for audiences and artists. “Please expose yourself to more art, in venues like galleries. Develop your own way of seeing paintings, and engage in conversations with the artist,” he advises.
For aspiring artists, he stresses the importance of perseverance. “Please do work hard. There is no shortcut to success,” Mahavir signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new ways of devoting yourself fully to your creative core?
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