Art Musings is participating in the upcoming edition of the India Art Fair, held in Delhi, 01 – 04 February 2024, showcasing works by 7 leading artists. The line-up includes Sakti Burman, Anjolie Ela Menon, Maïté Delteil, Nilofer Suleman, Maya Burman, and Sheetal Mallar, along with an immersive space displaying works by Shilo Shiv Suleman.
The stellar lineup is headed by Indian masters Sakti Burman and Anjolie Ela Menon. While Sakti’s paintings seem to exist outside the measurable flow of time in a world of reverie and fantasia populated by mythic beings and personae, Anjolie’s series of portraits and heads draw inspiration from her daily encounters with people whom she meets, as well as her extensive travels that have crept into her work from her stays in India and Europe.
The mother-daughter duo of Maïté Delteil and Maya Burman showcase their dreamlike works in their trademark style. In the space of Maïté’s universe, her oil on canvas work ‘Happiness’ plays with scale, as she dwells on fruits, flowers, and birds with a miniaturist’s love of jewel-like detail. Maïté’s palette is scrumptious; glowing reds, pollen-bright yellows, candied pinks, lambent blues and succulent greens. Maya Burman is presenting an immersive multi-layered experiential dreamscape scroll work ‘Lotus Pond’, set in a background of a lotus pond, peopled by pneumatic figures, depicted in moments of play and festivity expressive of an abundant joie de vivre.
Master storyteller Nilofer Suleman fills her large canvas ‘Unani Dawakhana’ with kaleidoscopic imagery, nesting one episode inside another, arranging them within framed narratives and larger, circulating cycles of tales. Suleman, who devoted herself to cartography for many years, now maps terrains that are shaped by memory, fabular narrative, embroidered travellers’ tales and sensory excitements. Her paintings embody the spirit of collage through which the artists of the Mughal, Rajput, Pahari and Adilshahi ateliers bore witness to their experience of a complex and multi-dimensional world nourished by diverse sources of cultural inspiration. The movie poster, the signboard, street graffiti, studio portraiture, the devotional oleograph – all these demotic forms of expression inform her work, as do the more restrained painterly idioms of the temple, the court and the marketplace. In Suleman’s realm of exquisite illusions, both windows and carpets open onto vistas, and the elements of her architecture are liable to grow wings.
Through the immersive space which holds the body of work ‘God is a Woman in Love’, multi-media artist Shilo Shiv Suleman tosses and turns like the samudhra manthan, chooses consort, unfolds into eight Ashtanayikas, makes an altar of most intimate. Indian mythology offers more lovelore to us than any other cosmology. Here love sovereign presides eternal and yet our loves remain mortal, trying, fickle, confused, abandoned, incomplete, like ghosts. The Ashtanayikas in the Natya Shastra are archetypal romantic heroines that repeat themselves across sculpture, classical dance and painting. Comprising large paintings alongside sculptures made in semi-precious stones embedded in brass, the solo space creates a Venusian kingdom of overgrown orchids and comes to the conclusion that the most divine and resplendent form of god is a woman herself.
Sheetal Mallar debuts her photo work at the art fair. Mallar is interested in the delicate, unspoken relationships that bind people to places. Her ongoing projects engage with the Interpersonal relationships and culture. On display at the fair are works from her project ‘Braided’. The fair will also see the release of the photobook, which features photographs and sketches of her grandmother, and explores intergenerational intimacies.
Says Sheetal about this project, which has been 12 years in the making, “I had been away from home for a long time. I wanted to look at the bonds we share with our maternal lineage and the roles they end up playing in shaping our lives. I believe it is a circle that’s just as vulnerable, as it is strong. In some ways, this work has been an attempt to reconnect back with them and find my way back home and to parts of myself that I had lost. I wanted to look at memory, loss, and ageing as a woman