Annual art show let down by poor display

Mixed media

Inspired by their surroundings, the socio-political scenario, nature and varied other factors, 168 artists created artworks to participate in the 55th National Exhibition of Art by Lalit Kala Akademi. 

Their paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations along with those of nine invited artists have been exhibited on the three floors of the gallery inside Rabindra 
Bhavan at Mandi House.
 
Even for the regulars in the art world, the size of the exhibition is astounding.

The display, however, is quite basic with the paintings and photographs framed and hung up on the walls while the sculptures/installations filling up the centre space of 
the galleries.
 
Some of the sculptures on the second floor are quite intriguing. 

From the cute frogs playing at a door in Shivani’s sculpture ‘Hide & Seek’ to the bronze sculpture ‘Mask Seller’ by Asurvedh, there is plenty to keep the viewers engaged. 
 
Those looking for ‘meaning’ behind the artworks, get drawn to ‘Chabi Wala’ by Madhulika Jha. Done in fibre glass, this installation is the result of what the artist 
observed as a child. 
 
“Contrary to the modern world, the skilled workers of yore inspired me to sculpt them,” explains Madhulika.

She elucidates that the trunk on which the keymaker sits “means the world to him” and thus she sticks keys and locks all around it. His shirt hung on a branch nearby and a lantern add significance to this piece.
 
Sculptures exhibited on the first floor such as ‘Save Nature’ by Suvajit Samanta and ‘Burger’ by Rajni Jamwal are also fascinating. Specially the latter for it literally creates a burger-shaped installation out of wire and fibre!
 
In paintings, the work of Kailash Chandra Meher titled ‘Omm’ and an untitled piece by Pamu Rajesh Kumar in wood arouse curiosity.
 
 ‘The Lady’ by Vivekanand H. Sankad is surrealistic while ‘Photo Session’ by Bandana Kumari is hilarious due to its direct sarcasm on the beauty pageants.      
   
In mixed media, the National Award winning artwork ‘I Want That’ by Srinivas Reddy S, is the most appreciable for its concept of simple sketches on old postcards. 

“The problems that we face today are similar to what was there in the British era. I thus collected old postcards from my grandmother’s place to draw and represent the political concerns such as that of Kashmir,” explains Srinivas.
 
referring to a particular postcard in which a picture of Shaktiman points to the apple placed in Kashmir shown on India’s map.  
 
Apart from these, four documentaries on artists like MF Husain and Akbar Padamsee are also being screened, but all these have generated a lukewarm response.

The reason being the lackadaisical manner in which these artworks have been curated.
 
In the absence of concept notes and a lot of spelling errors in captions, it is difficult to call this an engaging exhibition. 
 
The 55th National Exhibition of Art is on display at Lalit Kala Galleries, Rabindra Bhavan till today.
  

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