A rare translucence

ByProma Chakraborty

Oct 3, 2019

A group of contemporary enamel art makers bring forth an exhibition which blurs the boundaries between art and tradition

A show stopper down the centuries due its brilliant looks and glossy surfaces, the art of enamelling on surfaces has remained unique. Reliving this erstwhile tradition in an entirely new avatar of collector’s art via the artistry of contemporary enamel art makers — here’s an exhibition aptly titled ‘Enamel Revisited X’.

Driving home the point that enamel art is not just restricted to jewellery, this exhibition is fashioned by a collective of ten artists who have been dedicated enamelists for over a decade.

Their works on display reflect a combination of creativity, coupled with their unique technical practices, learnt from their family heritage or from experienced enamelists. “This unique consortium, has thus blurred the boundaries between art and tradition, to contour Indian sensibilities like no other,” reads the note of the exhibition.

Organised by the Enamelist Society, one of its founders – Veenu Shah leads this unique coterie. An enamelist for the past 55 years, Veenu Shah has held exhibitions both nationally and internationally and prides in qualifying herself as a celebratory of the spontaneous and transient form, where the works that emerge are “imperfect, intimate, irregular, unpretentious and above all, startlingly simple”.

In a more generational outlay are the works of artist Deepak Sankit a master craftsman of meenakari jewellery from the family of the late Deen Dayal Meenakar. A National Merit Awardee (2003) himself, Deepak is the progenitor of this ancient art form, that has been with the family since 1880. Along with him, his entrepreneur sister, Preeti Kala also joins in. A professional enamellist skilled in the techniques of cloisonné (an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects) graces her creations and plique-a-jour (a vitreous enamelling technique where the enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné), and the metal surfaces evoke a rare translucence.

Inspired by her immediate surroundings, Avanti Mehta, in her pursuit of artistic searches, cashed upon her travels through the country to stoke her artistry. She works in copper and painstakingly hand cuts her pieces with a fret saw, thereby making a visual lattice work of flora and fauna.

Among this coterie of trained designers, Kavita Dhankar holds the unique position of exploring the possibilities of vitreous enamelling for jewellery making as also fine art. Juxtaposing the jeweller’s art with professional artistry, her palette encompasses nature and cityscapes, which has found favour at international workshops in Italy, Russia and Budapest.  Artist Smriti Sangal too identifies her key strengths by patterning enamelled surfaces that define cityscapes through her gaze.

Apart from these, the exhibition also features the works of Jyoti Singh, Kana Lomror, Ritu Sangal, Seema Lalit Uppal and Triveni Mahajan.

The exhibition is on display at Bikaner House till October 6