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Tradition Transition, An International Art Exhibition in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India 2009

From:     Pradosh Mishra
Category: Exhibitions
Date:     12 March 2009
Time:     03:50 AM


Orissa is a land of multiple cultures ranging from folk to tradition to music and dance forms and many 
more. The visual art has been strong at the traditional level while modern contemporary art is striving 
for a place in cultural space. The fact that Orissa has two recognized art colleges with valuable 
exponents but due to the misplaced understanding at the local level, the entire environment is 
affected. The contemporary artists have taken their stand to propagate artistic  issues since long, at 
least for last fifty years. But the expositions are limited to the artists rather than getting closer to the 
social community. The problem seems to be lying with the communicating values. The state non-
cooperation and their limitations to foresee the present and future of the arts have taken 
disseminating position. Blame game is a strong culture that persists in the sphere by choice or 
otherwise. While taking stock of the matter, it seems as if one is addressing the politics in art. That is 
very much by chance, while the fact is no one would like to project a negative perspective of the 
communication, at least in a time when information technology has taken over the virtual space of 
interaction and art has become a substantial part of it. Well the artists have been trying to cap issues 
that are very much relevant and social. The present artists have somehow tried to create a positive 
feeling by coming together on singular platform to present their art with concern.

Art unfolds and the artists are approaching new avenues to interact. This time its the turn of many 
young and dynamic artists pulled together to exhibit in the Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Bhubaneswar. 
The group show that is organized by the Ashok Art gallery, an International  art gallery operating from 
New Delhi promoting the art and artists. This is for the first time the young and budding artists and 
people of Orissa are privileged to view few international artists  Ruth Olivar Millan(USA) Thea Walstra
(The Nederlands) Amna Ilyas(Pakistan) between 27th February to 5th March 2009. Many Oriya artists 
includes Orissan Master Late Chandrasekhar Rao living master Baladev Moharatha, young 
established like Jagannath Panda Pratul Dash Ramakanta Samantaray Adwaita Gadanayak BHU 
gold medallist Sitikanta Pattnaik along with the national artists who have placed themselves in the 
global platform like Dharmendra Ratore Hukumlal Verma Ramesh Tardal Vinod Manwani Sanjoy 
Bose are also included in the show and happily they are contributed to the exhibition with their fresh 
editions. They truly reflect the global ideology while representing the local. 

The art tradition in Orissa is so very strong that artists adapt the visual elements with subtle changes 
to suit contemporary makeover. In the case of Ajay Mohanty, one could easily consider these 
remains. They have emerged with subtle aesthetic layers with focus on the compositional patter. 
Stylistically different though but the gestures and colour have strong reference points. The only 
deviation perhaps is that of the space treatment and that make it visual strong and appealing. The 
present form of Anup has travelled long beyond Bihania and the transformation has remarkably 
shown up. The synchronization of the butterfly, the mystery and the illusory impact of the veil 
underlines the invisible face with intelligent symbolic. Gadadhar Ojha's Sans Titre holds the clue to 
the textural adventure and the space arrangement. The marble images refer to the Indian concept of 
bindu and vistara, a concept that deal with the centre and the periphery. The coordination  that 
necessarily speak of the relationship in interface, the globe and the India, the local and global and its 
likes. Hukumlal Verma's image is a simple play of colours and its definition in overlapping pattern. 

The abstraction of form and its layered transformation. Indian contemporary art has now started 
evolving new paradigms and several artists have been relocating themselves in the present context. 
The boundaries of the mediums are intelligently merged and meaningfully redefined to engage in 
artistic creativity. Emotion and expression are charged with intellectual input into and outside the 
civilisation aspect. Jagannath Panda is such an artist who has overcome the restraint of time and 
space with the medium. Environment and human relationship gets attached to the expressive 
medium. The overlapping planes represent timeless narrative with the man calculating the journey 
through its triangular device locating its existence. It seems to be an endless calculation in the 
background. The triangle shows the past , present and future coinciding to the three angles and the 
human race to achieve all in one go, finally failing to synchronise the ends. The compartment below 
derives the sky and its relational value to the upper segment. Pratul Dash  has sensitively arranged a 
human-scape with photo-dynamic. The composition seem to have a sense of social congregation. 
He might be nostalgic with the terror strikes in Mumbai and initiates the unique oneness of the 
subcontinent. Tapan Dash continues to draw with his mask(y) faces with layers of personality hidden 
within one self. This reality has surfaced with the racial competition to win over the world, every one 
individual trying to over do the other and justify the presence. This could also hint at a psychological 
value of human existence. Pradosh Swain has semantically drawn the earth through the bird image; 
upper part of the image beautifully interprets the sky with the runway at the background merging to the 
vistas, while the lower part reflects the dry land beginning to beg its fate looking at the past (which 
might have just saved its life). It is a sensitively created piece referring to the misbalance caused by 
human to nature.

Ruth is different and direct, creating a equilibrium between form and affection, of desire and 
achievement. The simple expression of the child and the mother is derived from life and diligently put 
forward on the canvas. And Shekh Hifzul is narrative in his form and composition, decorating the 
image with subtle rendering of designs and trying out mythical representation with a wing(?).  In this 
couple, male has the wings of desire and freedom remaining at the upper band while the female 
share its presence delicately supporting the figure. Thea Walstra speaks about the laser interactive 
rays those radiate to unite and spread around like dvani (sound), glowing into the cosmic sphere 
merging into the air and bringing back the sound to the ears, with the same transparency and layers. 

This exhibition is a venture projecting the insider and the outsider to and from the subcontinent and 
more so in Orissa it would definitely make sense as they all bring different vocabulary on one 
platform.  Ashok Art Gallery has done this in Delhi before and now presenting this to the Orissa 
audience, and hopefully they will cater to the creative desire of the young state art forum. What we 
need is reasonable spirit and appreciation of the art situation today, because we live in the present 
and need to keep pace with time. More such exhibitions will expose us to the global happenings. This 
first exhibition of its kind will definitely work as a catalyst for future.

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