Stories in black and white

Last Updated 18 June 2014, 13:17 IST

There’s nothing that is predictable and run-of-the-mill about artist Umesh Shebe.

His creations do exactly what he wants them to do — fire the imagination of the onlooker.

It’s not only about beautiful strokes but also about the instant connect you feel when you scan through his work.

It draws you into a deeper world of imagination and forces you to look at a lot of things from a different perspective.

Umesh doesn’t believe in restricting himself to a particular genre of art form or medium of work.

“I carry all kinds of tools in my bag. There’s water colour, oil... everything and most recently, I have begun using the medium of lines and circles, to create Shoonya Rekha. The beauty of it is that I have used only black and white. I’ve experimented with lines and circles to depict what I want,” says Umesh as he gets ready to talk about how he
stumbled upon this new technique and why he wants to explore it further.
Just like any other child, Umesh fell in love with paint as a young boy.

His father would bring home a lot of paper and paint to encourage his son to sink himself in the world of art.

“As I grew up, I was under tremendous pressure to pursue a professional course and I did opt for science in my pre-university. But I could go no further and told my parents that I wanted to specialise in arts.

That’s how it all began,” he recollects.

Umesh explains that the simple things that he sees around him ignites his creativity.

“One of my first works was the life of the fisher folk.

I would spend a lot of time in the coastal areas just to get a feel of their life, work and how they manage to work so hard yet live a happy and content life. I understand the essence of the subject and tell a story in my style,” he explains.

Umesh’s eyes instantly light up when he gets talking about Shoonya Rekha, an
artform that he conceived and developed.

“I wanted to go beyond the mundane and explore the possibilities of creating something unique with just lines and circle. That’s how I ended up creating a series of work using Shoonya Rekha on gods and goddesses. It took me six years to understand, apply it and perfect the technique,” he avers.

He further states that some of the images of gods and goddesses that we see around are what have been shown to us or what we have seen imbibed over the years.

“What I have created is just a symbolic representation of God. The rest is left to the imagination and interpretation of the observer. It’s an abstract language,” he notes.

Umesh also hopes to tell the story of Ramayana and Mahabharata using Shoonya Rekha.

“It would be challenging yet interesting to tell the stories of the past to the present generation and generations to come,” he sums up.

(Published 18 June 2014, 11:27 IST)

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