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Prashant Patel the Amdavadi painter of the folk, miniature and classical schools inspired themes is back with his second solo show Prem-Rang. This one comes after his first solo show held at Amdavad ni Gufa Gallery in 2017.
Aided and supported by the the Gujarat Lalit Kaka Akademi, this show by Prashant was opened at GLKA SS Gallery at RR Kala Bhawan on Sunday evening by medico Dr Himanshu A Patel and Artist and art teacher Kanu Patel in the presence of special guests C D Mistry, Natu Parikh and Jay Pancholi, all painters and/or former art teachers at reputed art institutes of the region.
Meaning the colours of love, Prem-Rang the show truly comes across as an embodiment of the beautiful human emotions of enamored love, romance, passion, shringaar and the virah, the wait in pangs of separation, besides the devotional love for Shriram, most of it inspired by the varied episodes of epic poetry of the classical Sanskrit poet Kalidas.
While a substantial chunk of Prashant’s forty plus works including the long panaromic piece de resistance at the centre of the show depicts episodes of Ram Katha as narrated in and inspired by Kalidas’s Raghuvansham, other works on display are also inspired by other famous treatises by this able and prolific Classical poet of long standing in Indian literature.
These epic treatises include Vikramorvashiyam, the story of King Pururavas and Urvashi; Shakuntalam, the story of Shakuntala and King Dushyant; and Kumarsambhav, the story of the birth of Kartikeya, son of Shiva and Parvaty; and Rtusamhar, the description of the six seasons in India.
The works on show were inspired by Patel’s readings of the translated versions of these epics. These are multi-layered compositions as they pack accounts of the protagonists’ lives while they open and advance from one significant stage to another important phase. For example in Shakuntalam, the work traces the first meeting of the two, then separation, the birth of their child Bharat and eventually the final reunion. Similarly, in Ram Abhishek the story of Ram from birth till His Abhishek is painted in a progressive chronological order.
Seen thus, while these works have been created in larger-than-miniature sizes, they do replicate the miniature format of multi-layered portrayal within the same frame to create the multi-episodal story. But the artist makes a deviation for colours used by him having regard to the size of the works which may not warrant the use of natural colours as in miniatures usually. Hence the bright acrylics are used which lend the works a nice sheen and finish.
Prashant’s human forms though tend to conform to the sharp facial features, chiselled tips and toes, thin waste, adornments of jewellery pretty much similar to the miniature styles and the women nayikas as they are, they are almost invariably drawn overall in sensuous curves and contours in keeping with the background, class, theme and the location depicted in the artwork.
No wonder works like Snan, Vastra-haran, Abhisarika, Kamrasagya, Grishmaprabhav, those with Shakuntala and even the Rageshri series of two seem to end up thus; whereas the artist visibly and consciously shows restraint and sensitivity when he is painting female characters from Ramayana, viz the Queens in grief gathered around a dead King Dashrath and Sita confined in the Ashok Vatika in Lanka.
Most of these works also throw up a unique style and treatment of the background settings and environment created therein around the protagonists. The Lotus Pond in Snan, the hermitage and flora-foliage in Shakuntalam, as also in Ramayan based works, in fact almost all of them, come up in enchanting details.
Speaking at the inaugural, Kanu Patel commended that the need to draw and carry forward the rich Indian tradition and forms of paintings is met and fulfilled by artists like Patel. He felt that the gradual abolition of Departments dealing with and promoting such folk and other traditional forms of painting from within the Lalit Kala Academi/s was not a good move.
The show which has more than forty bewitching and colourful works on display is available till Tuesday, March 29.
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