Hungarian artist Ildikó Morovszki Halász’s ongoing painting exhibition ‘Faces & Places in India’ captures special segment of the Indian reality.
When travelling to different parts of India, one discovers a totally new and different world. The diversity and unique cultural impressions of the country is a muse to many foreign artists. And Hungarian painter Ildikó Morovszki Halász ‘Morildi’ is no different as she found her calling for painting when she first visited India in 2015. In her extensive four years of travel in the country, Ildikó has explored most of the holy places followed by a trip to the villages in Rajasthan where she found the inspiration to bring the faces she came across on the canvas.
“One of my first trips in India with my family was to Rajasthan, and the colourful faces, full of dominant characters, inspired me to start painting portraits, so I can say the birthplace of my portraits was in Rajasthan,” says Ildikó. Her ongoing painting exhibition titled ‘Faces & Places in India’ at Sofitel Mumbai BKC Art Gallery captures the incredible atmosphere of sacral places as well as rugged features, colourful and at the same time craggy faces of the people.
The artist has presented a series of impactful exhibitions about India titled, ‘The way I see India’, ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Faces & Places in India’, in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and now in Mumbai. And her ongoing exhibition in the city is the last one showcasing her work before the artist heads back to her country next month.
Depicting multifaceted India, Ildikó’s watercolour and acrylic paintings create a real-life atmosphere on the background that the artist witnessed herself. Talking about the surreal visuals in the paintings, Ildikó reveals that she usually stops at places that are not visited by tourists and communicates with the locals.
“I communicate with the local people and accept eventual invitations to their houses. I let them show me what they do for a living,” she reveals. Ildikó further explains how these interactions help her paint well. “When inspired by a certain situation, face, movement, and extremity, I usually take a lot of photos about these interactions that will later remind me about the situation, the atmosphere, etc,” she elucidates.
To understand her subjects better, Ildikó puts herself in their shoes and participates in their work. Recalling a few practices that she did when she was travelling around, she recalls interacting with the water carrier women and accompanying fishermen to pull the long net. “I requested them to load the pots on my head so that I myself feel how difficult their work was. On our vacation in Kerala, early morning I went to the seaside to see the fishermen, pulling the long nets for their first catch. I wanted to feel how difficult their work was, so they let me join them and let me pull the nets with them. I have just decided that my next series will be dedicated to the fishermen of Kerala,” she recalls, and adds with a laugh, “My husband was shocked to see me like this.”
When asked if her paintings on the marginal characters of the society are received with apprehensions, she rues, “I am still a foreigner here, and being a foreigner, I have a different, a “foreign” view on India, that is not necessarily and easily accepted here. The greatest challenge for me is to be accepted and respected as an artist who is in love with India, but paints a special segment on the ‘Indian reality’,” she insists.
Apart from India and it’s vibrant culture, Ildikó is inspired by the works of Hungarian-Indian artist, Amrita Sher-Gil who is known for her series of paintings on women in 1930s India. “She opened my own artistic vision on India. I like her themes chosen for the painting. She reminds me that in art there should be no compromise for the sake of satisfaction of the taste of the market, i.e. ‘l'art pour l'art’,” she concludes.