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From lessons of history

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 | Pioneer

Artist Raghu Vyas’ canvas brings to life a variety of gods and goddesses from Indian epics and mythology

From the majestic portrayal of Lord Krishna’s return to the city of Dwarka after the victory in Mahabharata to the meditative contours of Buddha and Shiva, Delhi-based artist Raghu Vyas’ canvas brings to life a variety of gods and goddesses from our epics and mythology. Known for his unique style popular in the art circles as contemporary imaginary realism but firmly rooted in the Basholi school of miniature art, Vyas is now showing 15 such resplendent oils on canvas in a solo exhibition titled Melange: The Art of Raghu Vyas at the Shridharani Art Gallery.

Says the 64-year-old self-taught artist, “There are many lights, some that light the room and others the inner self. My paintings result from the light of my imagination. It is an emotional light that can convey a feeling, a mood or an idea. It is the light of nostalgia, of a distant memory.”

Vyas’ artworks reflect the formalism of Italian Renaissance designs but are also firmly rooted in the tradition of his hometown Basholi, famous for pahari miniature art. The detailed nuances of colours and form seen in his work reflect this influence. There is eclecticism in the choice of his subjects as well. He works around the human, physical and social landscape. He has progressed through a number of themes over the years — with multiple solo shows including his series on the lotus, Nanak, Buddha, Shiva and multiple portrayals of his beloved Krishna.

In the current show, for instance, the largest work (6 feet x 9 feet) titled Celebration, is about Krishna’s return to Dwarka after the victory of Mahabharata. The painting is significant not only for its scale but also the craftsmanship with which Vyas is able to get every human form and emotion down to its tiniest detail, much in the spirit of miniature art. Then there is Shiva, in a meditative pose, who rises high against a landscape of modern buildings and ruined palaces. The kingdom of Ravana lies floating at the bottom of the work, giving the viewers a feeling that Shiva, the destroyer and the creator, continues to exist even now within us. “Nature is Shiva, everything around comes from him and goes back into him. He is the eternal god and that is how I imagine him. No one knows what he looks like but he is peaceful even amid destruction,” says Vyas.

One of the most poignant works in the show is that of Guru Nanak on a visit to a carpenter’s house. This large work is a descriptive ode to how Nanak taught equality of all castes and religions. “Every painting has both history and teaching. And whether it is the unconditional love of Krishna, the teaching of Nanak or the spiritualism of Buddha, it is all relevant to each one of us even today,” the artist says as he signs off.

(The exhibition is on view from March 12 till March 20 at Shridharani Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam.)

Artist Raghu Vyas’ canvas brings to life a variety of gods and goddesses from Indian epics and mythology

From the majestic portrayal of Lord Krishna’s return to the city of Dwarka after the victory in Mahabharata to the meditative contours of Buddha and Shiva, Delhi-based artist Raghu Vyas’ canvas brings to life a variety of gods and goddesses from our epics and mythology. Known for his unique style popular in the art circles as contemporary imaginary realism but firmly rooted in the Basholi school of miniature art, Vyas is now showing 15 such resplendent oils on canvas in a solo exhibition titled Melange: The Art of Raghu Vyas at the Shridharani Art Gallery.

Says the 64-year-old self-taught artist, “There are many lights, some that light the room and others the inner self. My paintings result from the light of my imagination. It is an emotional light that can convey a feeling, a mood or an idea. It is the light of nostalgia, of a distant memory.”

Vyas’ artworks reflect the formalism of Italian Renaissance designs but are also firmly rooted in the tradition of his hometown Basholi, famous for pahari miniature art. The detailed nuances of colours and form seen in his work reflect this influence. There is eclecticism in the choice of his subjects as well. He works around the human, physical and social landscape. He has progressed through a number of themes over the years — with multiple solo shows including his series on the lotus, Nanak, Buddha, Shiva and multiple portrayals of his beloved Krishna.

In the current show, for instance, the largest work (6 feet x 9 feet) titled Celebration, is about Krishna’s return to Dwarka after the victory of Mahabharata. The painting is significant not only for its scale but also the craftsmanship with which Vyas is able to get every human form and emotion down to its tiniest detail, much in the spirit of miniature art. Then there is Shiva, in a meditative pose, who rises high against a landscape of modern buildings and ruined palaces. The kingdom of Ravana lies floating at the bottom of the work, giving the viewers a feeling that Shiva, the destroyer and the creator, continues to exist even now within us. “Nature is Shiva, everything around comes from him and goes back into him. He is the eternal god and that is how I imagine him. No one knows what he looks like but he is peaceful even amid destruction,” says Vyas.

One of the most poignant works in the show is that of Guru Nanak on a visit to a carpenter’s house. This large work is a descriptive ode to how Nanak taught equality of all castes and religions. “Every painting has both history and teaching. And whether it is the unconditional love of Krishna, the teaching of Nanak or the spiritualism of Buddha, it is all relevant to each one of us even today,” the artist says as he signs off.

(The exhibition is on view from March 12 till March 20 at Shridharani Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam.)

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