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Indian mythology, reimagined

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYANKA CHANDANI
Published : Sep 19, 2019, 12:33 am IST
Updated : Sep 19, 2019, 12:33 am IST

The Boomerang exhibition at Tao Art Gallery is a contemporary take on ancient India’s texts and traditions of art-making.

On the list of those depicting Indian Upanishads and tales on canvas are two contemporary artists: Israel-born and London-based painter Michal Raz and Indian artist Viraj Mithani.
 On the list of those depicting Indian Upanishads and tales on canvas are two contemporary artists: Israel-born and London-based painter Michal Raz and Indian artist Viraj Mithani.

Times may have changed, but artists’ interest in Indian mythology has forged on. Both Indian artists and international experts have embraced the Indian heritage and have made their own interpretations in their work. On the list of those depicting Indian Upanishads and tales on canvas are two contemporary artists: Israel-born and London-based painter Michal Raz and Indian artist Viraj Mithani.

Worli’s Tao Art Gallery, will now showcase an exhibition named Boomerang, comprising abstract art by the two artists. While the title refers to the act of re-appearing or returning from a direction that is opposite, the exhibit shows Raz and Mithani’s contemporary take on ancient India’s texts and traditions of art-making.

“I feel it was a great decision to come to India to showcase my work and I am excited. Thinking about this show, I wanted to bring out things that I am interested in, in a more psychological way. My interest in the Upanishads has been growing for a few years now, but my work is abstract and I have not used any narrative directly,” says Raz, whose line of work depicts her own experiences in India and its heritage. “I would like people to use their own imagination and see through their own ideas. I don’t want to force my thoughts on the visitors,” she explains.

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Similarly, 26-year-old Mithani is trying to recreate a story of Lord Krishna stealing the clothes of the Gopikas when they are busy bathing. “The way I see these mythological stories is like how they will be seen in pop culture. I am more interested in investigating old stories and seeing how India is represented through these stories. But first, it’s about the story that I connect with, and how I want to reinterpret it,” says the artist, who lived out his academic career overseas but was born and resides in Mumbai. Arriving at the same subject from opposite experiences, both artists tackle their individual reflections, confrontations, and learnings about India within their works while staying loyal to their stylistic trajectories.

Capitalising on bold colour palettes and the process of layering to produce two-dimensional pieces, Raz and Mithani’s work evokes a sense of fluidity and momentum. “We work around the same subject. After seeing the process, we realised that there is a great deal of commonality between our works. The colours, mark-making, and layers are the same. This is so harmonious,” the London-based artist explains.

Curated and conceptualised by Sneha Shah of the London-based fine art consultancy named Curaty, Boomerang is a harmonious meeting point for both the artists, whose works are presented side-by-side for the first time. “I wanted to bring a production that is like looking into the past and bringing it into the present. The reason to bring these artists together is because both the artists have a strong connection with India, so this show becomes very natural to them,” says Shah, who holds a deep interest in art and has curated many art shows in London.

Having an extensive history with modern artists and art, the creative director intends to shift the energy to contemporary art with this show. “We want to target the younger audience and artists. We have a history with modern artists and with the shift in the art industry, this is the right time to collaborate and explore India’s energy to a different level,” says Sanjana in conclusion.

Tags: indian mythology, tao art gallery