Kaleidoscope of changing world of art in Maharashtra

Kaleidoscope of changing world of art in Maharashtra

One of P B Joshi’s works.

Under an informal banner Mumbai ARt Kollective (MARK), the assortment of painters, writers, art photographers, commercial artist, musicians want to explore the non-traditional spaces not shackled by the suffocating pressure of art market ukase on the type of work that needs to be produced and promoted.

Says Prakash Bal Joshi, a retired political journalist and now a serious painter with a sizeable number of exhibitions to his credit,: “An artist needs a space uncluttered with impositions of market relations. However, the advent of art market has led to dissolution of artists’ communities and the unhealthy effect of these impositions can be seen in what is
being termed contemporary art and projection of singular work of art sans substance and depth.”

To counter this trend enveloping many artists, as “real work of art never comes to light’” Joshi points out, “… It is important that art not only pleases the eye and gladdens the soul but also makes the viewer or reader think about the everyday surrounding realities.”

Joshi, whose abstract paintings explo­des with a phosphorous ferocity of skulls glowing in a graveyard, says, “The world is changing. It is just disappearing in front of our eyes. The values that are disappearing and are being replaced by a narcosis indu­ced by a dream gone mad. It is a lonely crowd suspiring with howls of despair. This is what art is all about. And that is why we want to take it to the people where it belongs.”

But then MARK is not just about taking it to the masses; the loosely based group that had started with a handful of people and now attracting scores of artists, musicians and painters slugging away in obscurity quietly in towns and villages has
suddenly turned non-traditional spaces as places for art exhibitions. The group has already started chalking out plans for workshops, exhibitions, study-circles in places like Nashik, Nagpur and Kolhapur.

Anjali Purohit, an artist, holding a doctorate in Philosophy, says, “What we are doing is not new. Street art has always been there. But the point is not just taking art to the street but to remove the mental block against art which is unfortunately seen as a private domain of celebs.

“And it is also important to condense the time trinity, map out experiences and meanings of places fading away leaving emotional ghosts buried in disappearing street corners. And MARK as a crucible was formed to share such experiences, universal truths, emotions, spiritual despair and the multiplicity of impressions and interpretations of past events and future visions.”

Purohit whose paintings veiled in chiaroscuro depicting expressive figures in small coffee bars with glasses stained with smoky haze, or women like walking wounded beings with pallid faces sitting with a faded elegance in dusty rooms with a frass of light draining, lurking and bisecting in corners; or a sparrow perched with an air of a condemned spirit who has little threat to offer but much to fear, is extremely vocal about mapping out psycho-geography in art.

“We would like artists to ponder over the palimpsest of be it urban undergrowth or be it the village lanes or the streets of Bhiwandi (a power loom town near Mumbai). The aim of MARK is to make people realise that painting or a work of art is not a hypotheses but a tunnel that takes the individual from the blindness of duplication to a level where the individual is no more a puppet to the lie screaming from the hoardings pole-vaulting the highways,” Purohit sums up.

The group as of now has attracted over 100 writers and artists to its fold and has already managed a successful first exhibition of the works. Art photographer Kishore Salvi, an active participant who also sketches out portraits, says, “Recently artists from Kolhapur after hearing about us, contacted us. And very soon we plan to have a small exhibition not just of paintings, photographs but also have a small concert of folk music. All aspects of art are a part of folk culture which forms our collective consciousness.”