Since Ahmedabad’s recognition as India’s first World Heritage City, it has been proven that the city possesses a living heritage amidst its walls. But who are the people who ensure that these walls are beautifully covered with colours and designs? We explore the artists who have taken the city as their muse and have contributed art on the theme of Ahmedabad. Here is our first from the two part series.
There are thousands of reference books to guide you on the timeline of Ahmedabad, right from how the small vicinity became the Mughal Kingdom of Ahmed Shah, to the anecdote of its growth from a being a cotton textile industry capital to becoming the ‘Manchester of the East’. In the fruition of Ahmedabad from a smart Metropolitan city to India’s first World Heritage City, nothing would have been possible without its citizens’ contribution. The progressive expansion of the city is quite evident and can’t be overlooked by the world. What makes Ahmedabad cultural gold mine is its unique architecture, design and monuments, which all boil down to the city’s core aesthetics of art. Artists have crossed their geographical and ethnic boundaries to help the city become a living heritage. We discovered a variety of contemporary artists from aapnu Amdavad who have transferred the aesthetics of the heritage city on canvas, through their thoughts, creativity and brush strokes. Invigorated by these events, Creative Yatra introduces you to some of these contemporary artists from Ahmedabad. The list by no means claim to be exhaustive.
Being an alumnus of Sheth CN College of Fine Arts, Khatri’s aesthetics were shaped by some of Gujarat’s most experienced visual artists. During his artistic journey, specifically on the subject of Ahmedabad, he has been intrigued by the multiculturalism and lingual dynamics of the city’s residents. He has a penchant for making mythological artworks, which is clearly visible in a city based painting where he provides a visual narration of the incident where goddess Laxmi tries to leave the city of Ahmedabad but is stopped by a guard of Ahmed Shah Badshah. Khatri has exhibited at art shows in Bombay Art Society and Jawahar Kala Kendra, and has garnered numerous accolades, including a national award by Avantika Group of Arts.
An artistically rich and rooted soul born in the walled city of Ahmedabad, Patel always felt as if the elements of the city were demanding of him that they be drawn by his hands. Like Khatri, Patel too is a product of CN College of Fine Arts and pursued his further academics from the University of Arts, London. He has, till now, developed more than 450 artworks, all inspired by the milieu of the walled city. His inclination towards art and Ahmedabad grew so intimate that, as a result, Patel refurbished an old shop within his vicinity through his masterstrokes and art works on Ahmedabad. His paintings have so far been displayed in London, Egypt, Japan, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and various other locations.
Born in Ahmedabad, Bharvi resided in the westernised zone of the city, yet always felt that her heart was beating for the eastern walled city, which brimmed with art, culture and literature. After completing her formal education in commerce, Bharvi was fascinated by the various textiles forms of Ahmedabad, especially block prints. She went to Sheth CN College of Fine Arts to learn the vital aesthetics, met artisans who made these blocks, learnt the art and started using block print design as an integral part of her aesthetics. Her city based works on the subject of daily wage labourers and kitli culture are incomparably extraordinary.
Born in the pols of Ahmedabad, Bhairavi Modi received a first-hand experience of Ahmedabad’s cultural grassroots through her surroundings and later joined CN School of Fine Arts and MS University to evolve her sketching skills. Her art works reflect multiple subjects within singular canvases, but with monumental importance given to each one. Her paintings frequently signify traditional folklores and, within a series of 25 pictures on Ahmedabad, she has mentioned untold tales on the etymology of areas like GulbaiTekra and Bhadra Fort, through the vivacity of colours. Her art is momentous as it reflects not only the pol housing system but also the cultural and heritage sites located in the western suburbs of Ahmedabad. She has consistently been involved in various group and solo art shows since 2001.
Working on the theme of Ahmedabad since 1998, Rakesh Patel’s paintings, installations and sculptures have always described the liveliness that this city possesses. His artworks satirically portray how health-conscious citizens hop on to high caloric food just after a workout, while his life-sized installation made of motherboards showcase the vast skyline of all six zones of Ahmedabad. He has been visiting pols for informal late night sketching trips with his batch mates just to colour the textures of the nightlife of old Ahmedabad. With more than 15 artworks and countless informal sketches on the city, Rakesh Patel is a recipient of numerous national and state level recognitions.
There is more to what you have read just now. The second part in the series will feature five more artists who have contributed towards expressing the city on canvases. Stay tuned!
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