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Jitu Oghani, professor of painting at Sheth CN College of Fine Arts, gives wings to his imagination, in his recent exhibition titled ‘Objectification’. He uses a simple cotton thread and mixes it with everyday objects to create powerful imagery that is a reflection of his memories and artistic experiences.Though the art is not weaved around any stories a lot of doting anecdotes are associated in the development of the ‘Objectification’ artforms.
When Amdavadi artist, Jitu Oghani, went to Berlin, Germany for an art rendevouz with his friends, he realised that there is still a lot of unexplored potential of art within him. The experience of witnessing the art of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, triggered his creative instincts and pushed him to experiment with his art. Oghani, has been a teacher of painting at Sheth CN School of Fine Arts, since past 18 years. During this time he has inspired many students to think out-of-the-box; but his moment of inspiration came in Berlin. With ‘Objectification’ his third solo art show, he opens up a completely new dimension of his art, by focusing on ‘object’ rather than a ‘subject’. The show has 30 artworks and it opened at the Somalal Shah Art Gallery at Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan in Ahmedabad on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra.
Oghani’s pop coloured cubic paintings are magnificent and hypnotising. The art academician has used a 2-dimensional canvas to developed a 3-dimensional poetry in the language of cubes and hexagons. Oghani’s process of creating these geometrical shapes begins with covering the whole canvas with a single colour and then soon allowing the first layer of colour to dry. He then coats the coloured surface with other bright colours to scrape it eventually in the form of cubes.
However what caught the attention of visitors, and turns out to be the highlight of the show are his unique cotton thread paintings. Oghani has used raw cotton thread to create a texture of lines, and used that surface to juxtapose daily objects upon it. The use of thread is meticulous and contrasting it with bright hues creates a surreal imagery of fabulous beauty. Simple objects like bottle caps, cloth pieces, limestone, thread and various other materials are used to tell a story.
In his artist note Oghani mentions Dadaism as one of the source of inspiration, however probe him further and deep layers from within his memory and artistic experiences emerge to be the key triggers for his new found freedom of thought. Oghani nostalgically shared, “My father was a mason, and he used to stretch lines after applying plaster on the walls. He was inexperienced about art, but the process fascinated me a lot as a child, and the method was somehow registered in my sub-conscious. I borrowed my father’s construction tools to create lines on the canvas, this eventually led to the idea of using threads to create a linear texture.”
Before joining as a Professor at his Alma Mater, Oghani worked as a Graphic Designer for almost a decade. The finishing of forms, subtle colour scheme and usage of faultless lines is something that he developed during this experience of working with commercial arts. While interacting, the “middle-class family man”, as he chose to refer himself, also shared how he wanted to join MS University to study further, but circumstances didn’t allow him to. He says, “I was born in Thangadh, which is a ceramic cluster located near Morbi and my maternal family were toy-makers by profession. I can say that the creative instinct was gifted to me by my maternal uncle at a very early age.”
The show has a good variety on display. Though the medium remains raw cotton thread, Oghani brings in abstract forms, circular patterns, devotional figures as well as animal forms and let them emerge on the thread filled canvas. The choice of colour is a clear manifestation of the joy and freedom the artist has experienced in the process of creation.
The ‘Objectification‘ by Oghani, which ranged from Rs 15,000/- to Rs 1,50,000/- remained open at Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan until October 20, 2018. Various senior artists and significant voices from art fraternity of Ahmedabad visited the show – including sculptor and principal of CN Fine Arts, Ratilal Kansodaria, veteran painter Vrindavan Solanki, former NID professor & sculptor Jayanti Nayak among others.
With ‘Objectification’, artist Jitu Oghani truly gives wings to his imagination. The show will travel to Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai on November 6 and continue till November 11, 2018.
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