Inspired by the past

ByProma Chakraborty

Jun 21, 2019

Flourishing Mughal gardens, unblemished Islamic-Hindu style buildings, bright colours of Spring,  Bahaar-e-Dilli takes you back in time. The word bahaar means Spring, hence the title.

Re-imagining scenes of what the past would have been like, Bahaar Jain’s paintings are on display at the exhibition. “I am very fond of Indian history and find that my topics of painting are invariably connected to it. Bahaar-e-Dilli is one such endeavour. I have painted Delhi in the way it would’ve looked in its past years of glory,” says Jain.

Canvassing the iconic monuments of Delhi in her own style, she chose Spring because no other season offers such bounty of flora and fauna.

Marked with vibrant bright colours, nature takes precedence in all of the 14 works on display. For instance, one of her works featuring the Lodhi Gardens has the monument in the background while the focus lies on the burst of flowers and butterflies growing in front.

Her use of bright colours despite trying to depict the past, she explains, is simply because spring can never be in monochrome. It marks growth and abundance as can be clearly seen in the paintings.

She takes inspiration from an 18th century Indian watercolorist, Sitaram, who travelled across India with Lord Hastings as his painter.

Calling herself a huge history buff, Jain feels Delhi has a lot to offer. “Living in Delhi I have visited these monuments many times. Almost every building belongs to a different era in history. I did not want my viewers to think of it entirely in the past. Perhaps I want you to look at it from the point of view of maybe it is right now, maybe you are back in time,” Jain explains.

Painting, especially watercolour for as long as she can remember, Jain is also a doctor by profession currently working at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar in a lab that studies the effect of paralysis on the brain.

Jain hopes that her exhibition encourages her viewers to visit these monuments. She wants them to reminiscence and reimagine what these buildings must have been like in the past and not return back with just a selfie. “If they come back with a little bit of awe and reverence for these monuments then I think my work would be done,” she concludes.

The exhibition is on display at India Habitat Centre till June 30