Talking Heads

The display includes several familiar faces: from SK Bakre’s plaster bust of philanthropist and industrialist Sir Cowasji Jehangir to Ram Sutar’s bronze of Mahatma Gandhi, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury’s portrait of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Latika Katt’s bronze of Somnath Hore.

The display includes several familiar faces: from SK Bakre’s plaster bust of philanthropist and industrialist Sir Cowasji Jehangir to Ram Sutar’s bronze of Mahatma Gandhi, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury’s portrait of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Latika Katt’s bronze of Somnath Hore.

 By Vandana Kalra 

When Adwaita Gadanayak took over as the Director General of the National Gallery of Modern Art in 2016, he was introduced to its vast collection. In the coming months, he realised that it included several works that have rarely been exhibited. “The huge collection is meant to be shared with the public,” says Gadanayak. Much time was spent studying the collection and also restoring works that had been wrapped and stored for years. A sculptor himself, Gadanayak closely monitored works belonging to the medium. Now, he intends to exhibit them in a series of exhibitions in the coming months. “Unfortunately, the medium has not received its due. Sculpting is an expensive and labourious process that requires a lot of commitment from the artist. Many youngsters are not adept at it because they find it grueling,” says he.

So the first exhibition designed to fulfill the purpose, “Chehre” befittingly has at the entrance a sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore by Ramkinkar Baij, considered one of the pioneers of modern Indian sculpture. “He was a visionary, a true master and modernist,” says Gadanayak. Talking about the showcase, he adds, “The art of modern portraiture in sculpture can be seen majorly from the colonial times, but with this exhibition a focus is drawn on the individualistic creativity of the artists rather than a particular academic style. It is interesting to study the distinctive style of each artist — for instance Ram Sutar has a lot of detailing, whereas in Baij’s work the personality of the person also comes through. We have attempted to curate the exhibition in a manner where the portraits seem to be talking to each other.”

 

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Credit: indianexpress.com

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