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Life of Forms Through Water

Painting based on the refractive quality of water by Suhas Shilkar

At the Gallery Gitanjali in Panjim

In one of her earlier exhibitions, art curator Neeta Omprakash displayed a work depicting a goddess of water, and a spark was lit – giving rise to a fabulous group show now happening at the Gallery Gitanjali in Panjim, titled “Life of Forms Through Water.” The show, on from Jan. 5 to 12, features works of Indian, African and Iranian artists settled in the United States, among others.

“Life as we know it began from water. Water in the womb cradles the beginning of our existence. We search for life on other planets by the existence of water in them. The potential of water to give life as well as take it away has intrigued humanity since its origin,” Neeta explains.

Artists, she says, have long explored water and its immense significance for humanity through religious rituals, myths, folk tales, poetry, music and paintings. This exploration transcends cultures and time.

“Today, the world over we are grappling with the spill offs of greed and ignorance as our water bodies are fast disappearing or getting poisoned,” Neeta says.

Among the artists displaying their water-related themes are Anjali Deshmukh, Amina Ahmed, Robert Kirschbaum, Afarin Rahmanifar, Krishna Reddy (the renowned printmaker), his wife Judy Blum Reddy, Gail Gelburd, Kathryn Myers, Vinode Dave, Peggy Blood and Gail Gelburd. The latter is a professor in the Visual Arts Department at Eastern Connecticut State University, teaching Asian, African-American, Cuban, Japanese and Contemporary art. Her instillation depicts the aftermath of a tsunami in Japan.

Judy Blum Reddy sees life as an inescapable struggle against disorder, and that’s depicted in her fathomless inventories and compilations. She exhibits a ‘heat transfer’ print panel of various names the river Ganges is known as in Sanskrit, translated into English.

Afarin Rahmanifar is a leading Persian painter, with a vision that intersects points of eastern and western cultures. She specializes in Persian miniatures.

Kathryn Mayer has visited Goa several times, and exhibited with Goan artist Prof. Hanuman Kambli. The photograph she took in Varanasi of a contaminated water body focuses on the individuality of each moment impacting the environment. Her style reflects unique energy of movement and gesture which is visually startling, quietly intriguing and always powerful.

Robert Kirschbaum is a professor of fine arts at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Viraj Naik, varuna-2014, 3x4 ft, Mythology, Oil Painting

Mythology, Oil Painting by Viraj Naik

Prof. Reddy is an acclaimed printmaker and sculptor who received the Padmashri in 1972, the Jnanpith Award in 1993 and the Lalit Kala Ratna Award in 2007, for his outstanding contribution to Indian literature.

Amina Ahmed, a Kutchi Turk Indian born in Africa, is a visual artist, educator, curator and activist. Her projects are inspired by her interest in human rights and coalition-building.

Anjali Deshmukh’s work takes the form of conceptually related digital drawings, fiction, and paintings that examine relationships between the sublime, geopolitics, and mythology.

Among the Goan artists, Prof. Hanuman Kambli has a print that could be described as the first “selfie” man would have seen of himself reflected in water.

Tanaji, Abhishek-2014, Myth, Mixed media on paper

Myth, Mixed media on paper by Tanaji Abhishek

Other artists include Suhas Shilkar, Francis Desousa, Querozito D’Souza, Liesl Cotta D’ Souza, Fernanda Demelo, Chaitali Morajakar, Shilpa Mayenkar, Naini Arora, Raymond Pereira, Prashant Nageshkar, Swapnesh Vaigankar, Manjunath Naik, Loretti Pinto, Tanaji Shet, Sidharth Gosavi, Sachin Naik and Viraj Naik.

All have depicted water in various forms, some with political overtones. We worship rivers but don’t hesitate to contaminate them. Those who can afford to buy bottled water for drinking throw the plastic bottles in water bodies, and in many places in India people drink contaminated water.

Swapnesh  Vaigankar, Flow in Mahi-2009, 29x37 inch Environmental, Ink on paper

Flow in Mahi, Ink on paper by Swapnesh Vaigankar

This exhibition forms part of a Visual Project that also includes a daylong symposium entitled “Syncretic Religions and Eclectic Art Styles” held at Fundacao Oriente on 7th January and a printmaking workshop at Ray’s Atelier in Colva from 9th to 16th January .

The events are sponsored by Lalit Kala Academy and supported by Gallery Gitanjali, Fundacao Oriente and Ray’s Atelier. The exhibition continues till 12th January, at Gallery Gitanjali – Fontainhas, Panjim.

shilpa mayenkar naik, Title-Water II , size-9X14inch,medium-water color on paper, year-2014.

Water II, medium -water color on paper, by shilpa Mayekar Naik