Monday, November 29
06:49 AM

Virtual art exhibition displays novel works of art

20 Nov 2021 virtual exhibition

Hubert Vaz

Rangrez, the artist group of Indian Social Club, came forth with a unique theme for their last virtual art exhibition which took not just the artists but also viewers through diverse aspects of imagination based on classic books and novels read by the artists which left lasting impressions on their minds.

Curated by Khursheed Raja, one of our most talented artists with an education in art, this exhibition showcases the work of 22 artists represented by 29 popular paperbacks. Khursheed’s own work is extremely detailed and it reveals the fact that she demands very high standards from herself, says Sushmita Gupta, founder of Rangrez.

The virtual art exhibition called Ekphrasis was opened by Papri Ghosh, principal of Indian School Al Ghubra who relished going through each painting as she had read most of the books that served as an inspiration for the paintings. She especially loved Shalini Varma’s interpretation of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni.

Khursheed says, “As a child, I remember how illustrations in the story books transported me to magical worlds and faraway lands. Then when I started reading novels, I often missed illustrations which were such an essential part of this process. The absence of illustrations often fueled my imagination and I always fantasised how the author would have conceptualised the story, the various scenes and characters.

“It is fascinating to me as an artist who enjoys both the visual and written arts, to see how painting and literary works can combine. The most magnificent cross-disciplinary manifestations are often inspired by art that crosses boundaries. Therefore, when I was asked to curate a virtual art exhibition for Rangrez, I chose a literary theme. The unique quality of literature is its ability to ignite the imagination of readers, allowing them to interpret the mood, the characters and the settings of the story.” Here are some of the entries

Khursheed Raja

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Opening lines or this engrossing, multi-generational tale:

“Now is the time of the chestnuts. People are hurling stones at the giant trunks. The nuts fall all around them in a divine hall. It happens in countless places this Sunday, from Georgia to Maine. Up in Concord, Thoreau takes part. He feels he is casting rocks at a sentient being, with a duller sense than his own, yet still a blood relation. Old trees are our parents, and our parents’ parents, perchance. If you would learn the secrets of Nature, you must practice more humanity.”

Sushmita Gupta

Sister of my Heart by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni

Opening lines or this moving story of two cousins:

“They say in the old tales that the first night after a child is born, the Bidhata Purush comes down to earth himself to decide what its fortune is to be. That is why they bathe babies in sandalwood water and wrap them in soft red malmal, the colour of luck. That is why they leave sweetmeats by the cradle. Silver-leafed sandesh, dark pantuas floating in golden syrup, jilipis orange as the heart of a fire, glazed with honey-sugar. If the child is especially lucky, in the morning it will all be gone.”

Reji Chandy

Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon

Opening lines of this well-planned story:

The large ballroom was crowded with familiar ghosts come to help celebrate her birthday. Kate Blackwell watched them mingle with the flesh-and-blood people, and in her mind, the scene was a dreamlike fantasy as the visitors from another time and place glided around the dance floor with the unsuspecting guests in black tie and long, shimmering evening gowns.

Shalini Varma

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossieni

Opening lines of this very popular book:

“Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word ‘harami’.”

It happened on a Thursday. It must have, because Mariam remembered that she had been restless and preoccupied that day, the way she was only on Thursdays, the day Jalil visited her at the Kolba.

Aparna Deshmukh

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Opening lines of this book begins with a conversation:

“Yes, of course, if it’s fine tomorrow,” said Mrs. Ramsay. “But you will have to be up with the lark,” she added.

To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled, the expedition was bound to take place, and the wonder to which he had looked forward, for years and years it seemed, was, after a night’s darkness and a day’s sail, within touch.

Shashi Hemant

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Opening lines or the story begins as follows:

On the 24th of February, 1815, the lookout of Notre-Dame de la Garde signaled the three- master, the Pharaon, from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples.

As usual, a pilot put off immediately, and rounding the Château d’If, got on board the vessel between Cape Morgion and the Isle of Rion.

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