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Art goes online for a cause

New painters would have been languishing in obscurity had not Vadehra Gallery put up an exhibition, the proceeds of which will go for charity

With galleries shut and all events cancelled, new upcoming artists are struggling to get visibility for their creativity. In a bid to support younger artists and their works, Vadehra Art Gallery has come up with a digital endeavour.

Titled ‘VAG Fresh’ the series of online exhibitions will support younger artists and direct a percentage of proceeds by way of contribution to charities and NGOs who are working towards rehabilitating communities suffering due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The ongoing series features the works of artists Vicky Roy and Shailesh BR.

Roy’s black-and-white photographs focus on children of lower-income households in the act of play. Titled Bachpan, part of the proceeds from this exhibition will serve as a contribution to Salaam Baalak Trust, as the artist shares a personal relationship with them. He was rehabilitated by the NGO when he ran away from his home.

“This collection of candid photographs examines the psychology and principles of childhood games as performed specifically by underprivileged children living in major Indian cities, who have limited access to toys and equipment, and are instructed or expected to share their findings and belongings with other children in the community,” reads the curatorial note.

Each photograph features groups of children and not portraits, representing the largeness of communities and the logistics of play.

The series is shot across several locations including Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal. His travels presently interrupted by the nationwide lockdown, Roy plans to capture the subtle variations in childhood play considering every Indian state as a setting, thus broadening the breadth of his focus for the first time, unlike his earlier work that was centred only on a particular landscape, city or relief feature.

Shailesh BR’s works titled Notes to Self, features his drawing and collage work that invokes, mimetically, the act of forming connections between disparate observations, thoughts, moods, feelings and objects, places, animals, stories, food and landscapes.

Artist Shailesh BR’s work

The exhibition includes an assortment of works from Shailesh’s 2019 series Eclipse, which deals with the phenomenon of existence and the overshadowing of one, caused by the intrusion of a third party.  It impels the artist to consider his immediate surroundings as well as the world at large, taking the descriptive form of a variety of objects and places – fruit and vegetables, sea and mountains, volcanoes, anthills, etc.

The exhibition also includes work from his most recent solo exhibition The Last Brahmin, which opened in February 2020, in which Shailesh explores the complicated construction of the Indian caste system and Brahmin rituals in particular.

It also further includes the latest body of work Vasanta, which the artist is developing in response to the lockdown, while still in Nice, France in which the anxiety and unrest from unknowing await answers and clarity in the form of spring.

The exhibition is on view at the website till June 12

(Cover: Vicky Roy’s work in the Bachpan series)