Kolkata 29th October 2022: Emami Art, one of India’s leading contemporary art galleries based in Kolkata in collaboration with Vadehra Art Gallery presents Songs of Reclamation: The Art by A. Ramachandran. Curated by R Siva Kumar, the exhibition features a significant body of the artist’s recent work in various mediums and scales. The show will open on 28th October 2022 and will be on view till 31st December 2022, on the Ground, First and Fifth floors of Emami Art.
- Ramachandran belongs to the generation of Indian artists who began their careers in the 1960s and whose art was shaped by India’s post-independence experience. Ramachandran’s early work focused on the predicament of peripheral men trapped in a life of unfreedom, irrationality, and suffering in a world that swore by freedom, rationality, and progress. The idea of committed art and the modern world as a place of absurd cruelty and suffering shaped his art from the 1960s to the early 1980s. That made his art an act of emphatic protest articulated on a grand scale, akin to murals, and brought him closer to the Mexican artists—especially Orozco and Siqueiros—than to the Euro-American artistic vanguards.
In the mid-1980s, disenchanted with his endeavour to change hearts through art, Ramachandran decided to begin anew after an encounter with the landscape and life of rural communities around Udaipur. In the marginalized Bhils, who lived a communitarian life in harmony with nature, he saw more freedom and awareness of social ecology. In his recent art, he might appear to be turning away from modernism and making a romantic escape into the pre-modern past. But on closer look, it is not difficult to see that he is reminding us of nature and everything else that made life beautiful and meaningful before we instrumentalized nature and man. Besides reminding us of what has been lost in our pursuit of progress, he is also alerting us to the need for re-enchanting the world. Viewing them at a time when we are staring at the possibility of a sixth extinction, his works assume a special significance for us.
Although he is primarily a painter, Ramachandran is also interested in expressing his vision in as many mediums and ways as possible. It has made him a sculptor, a tireless and brilliant draftsman, and an enthusiastic designer, especially of books for children. This exhibition offers a glimpse into all that.
“It gives me immense pleasure that Emami Art is presenting a solo exhibition of A. Ramachandran in collaboration with Vadehra Art Gallery. Curated by R Siva Kumar, the eminent art historian, the exhibition is the largest recent show of the artist in Kolkata, the city with which he has a special connection. It will display myriad works, from his large-scale paintings of lotus pond to the original children’s book illustrations for which he is widely known, revealing different aspects of A. Ramachandran’s creative genius. I sincerely hope that this exhibition will give all the art lovers, an exciting experience” says Ms. Richa Agarwal, CEO Emami Art.
“From a very early age, I was inspired by Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij. I was drawn to their uniqueness and like them, I like to experiment with diverse mediums. I am not an artist who can work within the four walls of the studio. While I was in Shantiniketan, we would often be asked to visit Santhal villages and sketch. These experiences laid the foundation to my works and I realized how important it is for me to interact with nature and be inspired with its myriad shades. I work on children’s books, sculptures, oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, sketches, and much more. I do not adhere to limitations, which is why I consider myself as a “Bohurupi” in Indian art” says eminent contemporary artist A. Ramachandran.
“Ramachandran is an artist who has an old connection with Kolkata. It is here that he found his first inspiration and subject matter as an artist. The exhibition of his work opening at the Emami Art Gallery on the 28th provides a rare opportunity for the city to know his work closely. With 240 works spread over 3 floors, it covers all the major aspects of the artist’s practice” says Curator R Siva Kumar.