Aparna Bidasaria’s travelling exhibition on Banyan tree comes to Mumbai

Uma Nair-curated ‘Time and Being’ exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery from August 14-20


             Noted artist Brinda Miller to inaugurate on Aug. 14 

Mumbai, Aug 08   : As a child, she had a hypnotic spell cast upon her by the sight of a banyan tree: standing ageless in unruffled tranquility, the rustle of its leaves creating occasional symphony, people standing under its canopy of dense leaves in scorching summers, entangled roots cascading down to find anchor in the earth while branches moving skyward as if in a celestial dialogue between time and eternity. 

That lingering childhood fascination and evolving sensibility have inspired Indore-based artist Aparna Bidasaria to paint the tree on the canvas in an elegant spectacle of immense creativity. The formidable oeuvre of evocative paintings, now a travelling exhibition, comes to Mumbai after giving the artist critical acclaim in Bhopal and Delhi.

The exhibition, titled ‘Time and Being’, showing the tree in different reflections of light over seasons, will be held at Jehangir Art Gallery (Hijri Gallery) from August 14-20. Noted artist Brinda Miller will inaugurate it on August 14.

Curated by noted scholar and critic Uma Nair, the seven-day exhibition features a total of 35 paintings done both in monochromes and colours that resonate with a meditative quality; it is like poetry on the palette.

“The magic of the banyan never ceases to amaze me; it is now embedded in my artistic sensibility and craft. I want to tell the world that there is an organic interconnectedness between humans and Nature. When people see my work and stay silent for minutes, I know they are feeling my art,” said Aparna, who uses clay, charcoal, pastel, ink and acrylic as medium to capture the tree in time zone of sunrises and sunsets.

Aparna’s uniqueness lies in her robustly creative obsession with the banyan tree and its artistic and nuanced articulation, which stands out for grandness of ideas and subtlety of treatment. “I am inspired by the impressionists and expressionists like Van Gogh, Seurat and Jackson Pollock. Though my language is Indian in thought, the grammar I use is of the West,” she said.

“Starting the show from Bhopal (Bharat Bhavan) and then to Delhi (Shridharani Art Gallery), the response to my works has been beyond my imagination. The positive energy I have got from artists, critics and people in general has given me immense strength,” noted Aparna, who graduated from Sophia College, Mumbai and then did post-graduation in Drawing & Painting from D.A.V.V, Indore.

The exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery is the last leg of the travelling exhibition. “I am excitedly waiting for the Mumbaikar’s response to my work,” she said.

Curator Uma Nair said the paintings are absolutely unique as these are based on a single tree. “I don’t think anybody has ever attempted to portray the banyan in so many moods and facets on the canvas,” she noted. “It’s like meditations on the banyan tree.” 

Aparna imbues the painting with an essential stillness and compositional harmony, marked by abstract expressionism and minimalism, she said.  “It is also a testament to her continued search for her own cultural foundations in which the banyan is considered both sacred and profane.” 

The artist constructs in her paintings a unique surreal universe in which the banyan evokes a enjoyable simplicity, and it embodies the ancient belief in the Puranas of the conception of man in unity with nature.

The splendored banyan is an exceptionally refined example of Aparna’s career, and a culmination of her artistic journey across styles, techniques and subjects, the curator said. “It is also a metaphor for her feelings about being an artist, her aspirations for spiritual odysseys as well as her sense of isolation and solitude. In the process, she creates an art that transcends national and cultural boundaries and attracts audiences in both the East and the West.”

Aparna’s works have also been exhibited at AIFACS, Delhi; India Art Festival, Mumbai; and Pritam Lal Dua Gallery, Indore. The upcoming exhibition in Mumbai promises to be an enchanting and unpretentious showstopper in the chaotic hubbub of the metropolis.



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