Mythology abounds as 4 shows wrap up in the soon-to-be-renovated Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan

These solo exhibitions are travelling cities, from London to Shimla. The Ashta-Nayikas danced besides yogic symbols and cats all in one gallery in Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan, which is soon expected to close for renovation.


The first-floor gallery of Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan was packed with 4 simultaneous solo exhibitions by 4 independent artists this week. The shows didn’t have matching themes and had little in common. So why was Shri Somalal Shah Art Gallery brimming over with art like this? The reason is administrative. Artist Trupti Raval, whose show Kundalini Jagran was on display, explained, “The gallery is going under renovation, and the authorities wanted to complete all the pending shows before it gets temporarily closed.”


Navin Soni and his wife at Ashta-Nayika and Rasvandana exhibition
Navin Soni and his wife at the solo exhibition ‘Ashta-Nayika and Rasvandana’

At his exhibition Ashta-Nayika and Rasvandana, artist Navin Soni captured the many moods and emotions of the Ashta-Nayikas (8 heroines) of Indian mythology, using oil on canvas. His figures seemed to possess a touch of the European Renaissance style of art. The show had 9 paintings of Ashta-Nayikas, 5 poetic non-thematic artworks, and 6 paintings on the tribal life of Kutch prepared by Soni’s son Jigar Soni. It also had 10 paintings called Rasvandana, that pay tribute to theatrologist Bharatmuni’s Natyashastra, an ancient Indian dramaturgy that elaborates on the nine emotions of Navarasa. These expressive concepts in Soni’s show were based on some of the ancient performing arts from Hindu mythology which are still practised today.

The Kutch-based artist, who completed his artistic studies from Sheth CN College of Fine Arts, will be exhibiting some of his works at the Nehru Centre in London in September of this year. Opened on August 21 in the presence of Soni’s mentor, senior artist CD Mistry, and other reputed delegates, Soni’s exhibition was on display till August 23.

Trupti Raval at her solo exhibition 'Kundalini Jagran'
Trupti Raval at her solo exhibition ‘Kundalini Jagran’

An alumnus of Sheth CN College of Fine Arts and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Trupti Raval had a focus on spirituality in her art at her show Kundalini Jagran. Her spiritually themed works were last visible at the all-woman art show Rangoustav in May of this year. On glimpsing the yogic designs in her paintings, her deep interest in the realm of Kundalini and Chakras become evident. She uses sandalwood, vermilion, cotton fabric and various other organic colours and materials to make her 35 semi-abstract paintings. Trupti Raval’s spiritually inspired show will travel to the Orissa Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneshwar in January 2019.


Shalini Patel at her solo exhibition 'Internal Pleaser'
Shalini Patel at her solo exhibition ‘Internal Pleaser’

The fourth exhibition at Shri Somalal Shah Art Gallery was of Shalini Patel, a Master of Arts graduate from MS University. Her show Internal Pleaser consisted of 30 digital prints. After preparing 50 paintings using different mediums like oil paints, acrylic and watercolours, she scanned each painting or took a photo of it, and overlapped a few using lino printing or digital art methods, before taking prints. Patel’s subjects draw inspiration from nature. Cats and birds are interspersed with banana leaves and trees in curious collage formations.

Paintings of artist Ramesh Joshi at his solo exhibition Strokes 4
Paintings of artist Ramesh Joshi at his solo exhibition ‘Strokes 4’

Former banker Ramesh Joshi’s solo show Strokes 4 was a combined result of his artistic passion and imagination. Priced at Rs 2000 each, his serene watercolour paintings of landscapes, calming mythological figures and semi-abstract paintings, can easily add a beautifying touch to your living room walls if you’re considering buying some art. Both Shalini Patel and Joshi’s exhibitions will be travelling to the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex in Shimla in September and October.

All three shows – Strokes 4 by Ramesh Joshi, Internal Pleaser by Shalini Patel and Kundalini Jagran by Trupti Raval – were on display from August 22 to August 24. The first floor and second floor galleries of Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan are definitely in poor condition, and the decision to refurbish them is a sage one. But a systematic approach towards executing the pending art shows without overlapping them might have been a more mindful approach.

According to sources, one can expect that the authorities at Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan will stop taking further bookings from September 1, 2018, until the galleries have been completely renovated.

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