Press "Enter" to skip to content

Varanasi on canvas

Anand Narain, a Delhi-based painter, captures the spirituality and beauty of Varanasi in his latest exhibition titled ‘The Spiritual Gold – Banaras’

“Parakastha hoti, lakchya ki astha mein doob jane ki,

 Ma Gange tu mujhe in sabh se paar jane ka, abhay dan de.”

(If I had high ambition of drowning in my goal

Ma Ganga, give me the courage to reach the other shore)

For Delhi-based painter Anand Narain, Varanasi has never failed to inspire. Penning down his thoughts through poetry that compliments his paintings, Narain’s recent works are on display at the exhibition titled ‘The Spiritual Gold – Banaras’.

Working on a series of painting on Varanasi for the past 15 years, Narain comes up with new works for every exhibition despite continuing the series for such a long time. Quite naturally his works have also evolved over the period.

The artist paints the holy city of Varanasi in an abstract yet realistic manner. However, he has developed this style only recently. “Previously it used to be all very clear. If I painted a temple or a ghat my painting would depict it exactly like it was. Now it’s only an impression. One can say that I don’t wish to create a mere painting anymore, what I want to create is an atmosphere of the place so that people can experience the place,” he says .

With a total of 34 works on display, his paintings feature the city’s architectural beauty and unusual perspectives — the beliefs and myths deeply rooted in the hearts of rural people, holy and serene ghats of the Ganges, cluster of majestic temples and the herding of boats. Depicting all such subjects jointly makes his paintings simplistic yet loaded with multiple interpretations.

“His works are very philosophical, they mean much more than what’s there on the canvas. While painting the city that is bound to inspire every creative person, Narain creates not merely paintings but evokes an atmosphere through which people can feel as if they were experiencing the city,” reads a note on the exhibition.

What stands out is that Narain paints using a spatula, a not-so widely used rich tool for abstracts. While spatula is generally used as a tool by artists  only to mix colours, he used it to paint.  “A very few artists like Ram Kumar who was a contemporary of Hussain, used spatula for creating artworks. I like working with this tool. The pigment and thickness comes out great while working with oil on canvas,” he adds.

Narain feels that there is a lot of spirituality and feeling of respect in Varanasi which urges him to creatively preserve them. On one such visit to the city, Narain saw a temple being painted in golden colour, which thereon led to the title of this show.

The exhibition is on display at India International Centre till August 27