These dream-like paintings of Radha-Krishna by Nabibakhsh Mansoori will inspire awe in you

Veteran artist Nabibakhsh Mansoori paints vivid dream-scapes for his 26thsolo exhibition of oil paintings. Drop by at Hutheesing Visual Art Centre till January 24 to experience a surreal Vrindavan.

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LtoR: Vijay Patel, Nabibakhsh Mansoori and Moobin Mansoori

Radha and Krishna relish their time under the shade of the kadamba tree (burflower-tree) while surreal scenes unfold in an ancient Vrindavan forest at Nabibakhsh Mansoori’s solo exhibition Kadamba. Opened on January 18, the show houses a series of 15 oil-on-canvas works inspired by this epic love story between Radha and Krishna. Artistic elements associated with Krishna abound, like the peacock feather, flute and images of cows. Mansoori, who usually paints artworks styled in an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ way using a lot of hidden subjects and scenery, adopts a slightly different approach in these works by directly adding figures in the paintings rather than between and around his subjects.

Mansoori was born and brought up in the handsomely hilly region of Oda in Idar, Gujarat. As a young boy, he was always fascinated by the stories from the Mahabharata that his uncle recounted to him. The budding creator was especially drawn to Krishna’s character because of his wit and mischief. In his latest series of paintings, Mansoori personifies the kadamba tree as a storyteller, under whose shade the eternal love of Krishna and Radha flourishes. Created by his swift yet deft strokes, the tree, according to the artist, narrates the couple’s different moods. In his paintings, Wheedle and Endearment, he also portrays the vivid moods of the love-struck couple using vibrant images of shamrock and lilac. The landscapes of Vrindavan, which is the city where Krishna is believed to have grown up, are beautifully widespread on canvas and I spent time in front of every painting to visually appreciate their beauty.

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Spellbound, oil on canvas by Nabibakhsh Mansoori

The exhibition at Hutheesing Visual Art Centre pays an artistic ode to stalwart artist Mahendra Kadia, who passed away on the day before the show’s inauguration, and served as an Hon Director at the institution for years. Speaking to us, Mansoori remembered the times he spent with Kadia when they both taught as lecturers at CN School of Fine Arts and shared lunches. “Although I am opening my 26th solo exhibition today, my happiness is not up to the mark as Kadia’s presence will always be missed,” he said.

The artworks exhibited at the Kadamba exhibition were prepared by Mansoori during an 8-month period. They are relatively smaller than the larger-than-life artworks that he presented at last year’s exhibition ‘The Wonderland’. The surreal landscapes in these paintings inspire a sense of awe as one observes the different moods of the subjects. Mansoori’s symbolisation of the eternal love between Radha and Krishna, through three-dimensional scenes, is a feat that few can accomplish with such sheer beauty.

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Ethereal, oil on canvas by Nabibakhsh Mansoori

Mansoori’s artworks have travelled widely in India and occupy space in the private collections of luminaries like actress Tina Ambani, entrepreneur Laxmi Mittal and fashion designer Ritu Kumar. His works have garnered him various accolades, including the Fellowship Award by the Department of Culture.

This is the 5th exhibition to have been organised by Vadodara’s Vis-a-Vis art gallery, a CSR initiative passionately initiated by entrepreneur Vijay Patel. The gallery recently exhibited a host of artworks by 26 emerging artists from Vadodara at the fourth Kochi-Muziris Biennale curated by Anita Dube.

These dream-scapes of Mansoori will transport you to another land without you having to leave the city! Visit the exhibition Kadamba until January 24, 2019, anytime between 4 pm to 8 pm.

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Kadamba at Hutheesing Visual Art Centre

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