Bapu on Canvas - The Art Fraternity of Ahmedabad Celebrates Gandhi Jayanti

The ‘dawn of tranquillity’ was celebrated in the ‘Karma Bhumi’ of our Father of The Nation with a pinch of creativity. The World Heritage City of Ahmedabad that possesses numerous institutions associated with Mahatma Gandhi was also his abode for more than 12 years. On his 148th birth anniversary, i.e. October 2, 2017, the art fraternity of the town buckled up and decided to give the citizens a fresh outlook towards art and Gandhism. Here is an exclusive story on two of the most enriching exhibition based on Gandhiji happening on the occasion of ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ – one at the Satya Art Gallery, Navjivan Trust and another at the Kochrab Ashram, Paldi.

Manhar Kapadia’s display at Kochrab Ashram, Paldi

The first Ashram established by Mahatma Gandhi in India, Kochrab Ashram located in the Paldi area of Ahmedabad hosted an exclusive art show, where veteran artist Manhar Kapadia, presented four artworks on the theme of Mahatma Gandhi. The exhibition was inaugurated in the morning hours of October 2, 2017, in the presence of Raghuvir Chaudhary and Rajendra Khimani, Registrar of Gujarat Vidyapith.

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The life-sized artworks have been sketched on canvas sized 4×8 feet with loud and vibrant colours. Going through these four artworks that have been placed around the meditating Bapu portrait showcases the transition of MK Gandhi from Mohan to Mahatma. The artist has been making paintings on Gandhiji since his first exhibition at Sabarmati Ashram on October 2, 2007. Manhar Kapadia has learnt his aesthetics formally at the CN College of Fine Arts and later joined the art school as a mentor. He makes paintings that have thick strokes of acrylic, oil and mixed medium colours. His efforts of showcasing Bapu in easy-to-eye forms is making Gandhi reach to larger audience. The works put up in this exhibit are displayed in Ahmedabad for the first time. The show’s aura was amplified during the evening Bhajan ceremony organised on the inauguration day, and the spectators can visit the show till October 5, 2017, between 09:00 pm to 12:00 pm or 3:00 pm to 06:00 pm.

Group Show At Satya Art Gallery

On the other end of the road, christened Ashram Road – as it starts at Kochrab Ashram and ends at Sabarmati Ashram- lies Navajivan Trust, a media house established by the Mahatma himself in 1929. The trust runs an art gallery known for high-quality visual art shows. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Satya Art Gallery brought together 36 artists of city, veteran and upcoming – to create a diverse showcase of Gandhian thoughts on canvas. The 36 artists, who got together with Satya Art Gallery, juxtaposed their perspective towards what is Gandhi to them. The doors of Satya Art Gallery were opened for viewing on October 3, 2017, and will be on display until October 16, 2017.

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The beauty of Bapu’s philosophy lies in its suppleness of connecting every human being. Every artwork is monochromatic yet incredibly dynamic. The subjects portrayed ranged from his 11 vows (Truthfulness, non-stealing, non-violence, etc.) to how Gandhi-giri’s (Gandhism) contemporary relevance. Few of them also represented our father of the nation’s current social significance. The artworks are equally sized, made with equal brilliance. One will be delighted to find Vrindavan Solanki and CD Mistry’s meditating Gandhi, Cleaning Bapu juxtaposing as a monkey by Milan Desai, Nabibaksh Mansoori’s 1000 rupees note floating in his fantasy landscape and Rakesh Patel’s Open Minded Gandhi with a burst of thoughts. There are even some fascinating artworks on Bapu like Nilu Patel’s Gandhi portrait made by using rolled magazine papers, or Shikha Chavda’s chromatic Gandhi that showcases the inner Bapu in you. One cannot overlook a single piece of art even though all of them are representing ideas of one single person.

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Art cannot be read, but it possesses the quality of connecting deeply with every individual. Over decades Artists have been contributing their ideas on Bapu, and their aesthetics and creativity have played a big role in making the Mahatma’s ideas available to every generation. This group show at Satya is a brilliant display of Gandhi’s breadth of impact and his depth of thougths.

CY recommends families to take their children to the two shows and leave them to wander in the aesthetics of Bapu’s ideals.

Photographs : Himanshu Nainani

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