Ode to the life-bestowing elixir

Ode to the life-bestowing elixir

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is presenting a very thoughtful art exhibition on the value of water.

Water sustains life on earth, the existence of human beings, animals and even the smallest of creatures in our world depends on this life-bestowing elixir.

Yet, we squander it away without a thought leading to recent fears that we may, soon, get to see ‘water wars’ in different countries. At such a time, the significance of this presentation, aptly titled ‘Aqua Aegis Fete,’ cannot be overemphasised.

The exhibition is a collection of no less than 30 well-known and upcoming artists. Each portrayed the vitality and essentiality of water in his own interesting way.

Since time immemorial, civilisations have taken birth and thrived on river banks. In our own city, Delhi, emperors built their palaces on the banks of Yamuna and built exquisite fountains drawing upon rivulets.

In this context, Augustus Mithal’s series of three photographs: The city of canals Venice, the skyline of New York from across the sea, and then Safdarjung tomb’s central fountain running absolutely dry, is poignant.

Vinita Das Gupta could not have portrayed the value of water better than in her painting where a crow, perched under a tap, thirsts for a single drop of water, but cannot manage any.

Kathleen Scarboro’s rural Indian woman, who travels miles barefoot just for a pot of water, is symbolic. These women suffer the most when rivers and lakes disappear in summer.

Bipasha Sen Gupta’s rotting fishes, as much as Sabyasachi Ghosh’s ‘barebones of fish,’ were symptomatic.

The first sign of a river becoming more polluted than it can bear is dead fishes floating on it.  
 
There were some quirky pictures too, conveying the message differently, such as Sanjay K Sharma’s ‘man filling up a bottle, while located among numerous bottles on the canvas.’

Shalini’s umbrella, with angels of water, was also a pleasure to see.

This exhibition is on at the Twin Art Gallery in IGNCA till May 30.   

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