Chaos, cosmos and culture in the works of painter NS Harsha

Vadehra Art Gallery presents NS Harsha’s solo exhibition which portrays the image of our time as he explores the chaos and vulnerability with compassion and irony.

All images: Vadehra Art Gallery

NS Harsha’s paintings make the audience read instead of only viewing. His canvas tackles the issues of globalisation and evolving cultural heritage. He engages himself in it through conversation between traditional Indian forms of painting and popular culture. In his works, he breaks down the larger cosmos into individual experiences through day-to-day activities like sleeping or eating. 

In his exhibition titled ‘Stomach Studio’, he captures the dualities of chaos and cosmos of vast cosmologies and small human gestures. The distinctive element of his work is the uniformity of linear arrangements which observes the daily activities of survival. 

In his work, ‘Emission Test’, rows of people being tested for RT-PCR along with their tools of occupation brings out the humour and vulnerability. In the other collections from the series, he showcases the broken migrant families huddled together seeking warmth. Animals like cows, rats, monkeys and elephants are visible too.

The uniform placement of diya, burning domestic wood and the distant star together create a pool of illumination. The trail of smoke prevailing on the canvas depicts the dark times of the pandemic.

“Harsha creates a polyphony of portraits. Seemingly repeated in endless fashion, these nevertheless bear the consistency of music notes, all similar but different. One may sense in his body of work an appetite for a great, sweeping view of communities. In short, a worlding of the portrait”, said curator Gayathri Singha.

Harsha’s artistic language takes us beyond the language of painting. “An artist has to have that position otherwise we get consumed by the world and whatever it has to offer”, says Harsha.

The exhibition will be on display at Vadehra Art Gallery till 2 May.

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Judith Mariya Antony
Trainee Sub-Editor | + posts