Spirit of Rajasthan in charcoal

The state of Rajasthan is known for its vibrant, diverse and rich culture – something that artist Bhoor Singh Meena ‘Raja’ has tried to showcase through his works, which are currently exhibited in the city as part of his solo show.

Titled ‘Mera Rajasthan’, the exhibition showcases a series of charcoal portraits and oil paintings. The 17 charcoal works are stunningly intricate, with great attention given to detailing minute things like eyebrows, moustache, creases of the attire, wrinkles and even forehead lines. The five oil paintings too have the right balance of colours.

“I have tried to represent the Rajasthani culture through its people, their attire, their ornaments and folk music instruments like the algoja. All the 22 works highlight one aspect or other about our tradition,” he tells Metrolife.

But, for a culture which is best described as “colourful”, the artist chose to depict it in charcoal. Ask him the reason, and he smiles before saying, “I wanted to bring out this vibrancy through charcoal – which is not a very easy medium to work with. It demands a lot of patience. Having said that, even though majority of my works are in monochrome, you will be able to feel the vibrancy of the depicted place and its people.”

And Raja, who is also an art teacher, points out that his works, in no way lack vividness as he has taken tremendous care to highlight the various elements which make his subject stand out on the canvas, even from a distance.

Interestingly, the artist’s love affair with charcoal is only a year-old. “I stumbled upon some charcoal works by an American artist on YouTube and it instantly tickled my fancy. Though I had never experimented with charcoal ever before, I thought of working with it and have thoroughly enjoyed ever since,” he says.

The show is on until
January 26 at the All India Fine Arts and Craft Society (AIFACS), 1 Rafi Marg.

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