Are We Really What We Are? Ranjan Narkar Asks at His Solo Exhibition 'Hey Ram'

What emotions do we hide behind our faces? What is the true self? Sculptures and paintings by Surati artist Ranjan Narkar explore how human thoughts contradict behaviour at this exhibition at Herwitz Gallery.

A textured sculpture in copper made by sculptor Ranjan Narkar

There are numerous opinions about human behaviour that most of us will agree to disagree on. One of these is the assumption that we don’t always portray on our faces our true emotions. As artist Ranjan Narkar says, “When Nathuram Godse went to kill Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t let the resentment toward Bapu reflect on his face. He respectfully touched his feet first, and then assassinated him.” Narkar, who has titled his latest solo show based on Gandhiji’s last words Hey Ram, portrays artworks that capture this underlying quandary about human behaviour. They ask of the viewer: “Is the face truly the expression of the mind?”

Ranjan Narkar posing with his creations at the exhibition ‘Hey Ram’ at Herwitz Gallery

The exhibition kicked off on May 8 at the Herwitz Gallery next to Amdavad ni Gufa, with 19 multicoloured paintings and 9 sculptures that depict the innumerable thoughts and ideas going on inside the human brain. A series of alike-looking human figures is painted onto canvases using acrylic colours. Narkar avoids the use of brushes altogether, scratching the paint onto his canvases with painting knives instead. Each figure’s flow of hues conveys its aura, with darker colours seeming to convey negative emotions, while positive thoughts seem to be imbued with radiant textures.

A graduate of the Sir JJ School of Art, Narkar also exhibits 9 copper sculptures that have nickel coating. The free-standing sculptures, with human faces on them, have been stencilled with acrylic colours. With faces being embossed onto the medium, the sculptures are hollow from the other side. Explaining this, the Surat-based artist said, “We all smile on the outside, but feel empty somewhere inside, just like with these sculptures.” One particular darkly-coloured sculpture, which has been given a face-lift using a dazzling red texture, portrays the god-men of India, who have vibrant faces but possess dark thoughts inside them.

The embossed copper sculptures of Narkar stand alongside his acrylic paintings scratched using knives

Shilpdhara Award winning artist Ranjan Narkar has organised three solo exhibitions so far, has been part of various group shows in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Surat and has also exhibited at international destinations like Paris and London. The humble artist is a sculptor at heart, with the art of painting being a relatively recent addition to his repertoire of works.

Hey Ram will be on display at Herwitz Art Gallery, Amdavad Ni Gufa, every day till May 13, from 4 PM to 8 PM. Narkar’s conceptual art may help you to explore the hidden expressions behind your own emotions that you are yet to experience.

A human form made with painting knives reflects the flow of thoughts

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