Friday, November 26, 2010

Opportunity for Students and Young Artists

There is a wonderful opening for young artists to proliferate and sell their work through this online portal called Best College Art. It is applicable to all students and graduates of art who are either studying or finished college within the last ten years. Please visit their website for more details.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Of One Generation

I spent one month in Mumbai this October, assisting Sakshi Gallery coordinate an exhibition called SCRATCH curated by Swapan Seth that was presented at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi. During the experience, I discovered a common connection between the artist Nnenna Okore and the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, both of whose works I admire immensely. Both these individuals studied at the University of  Nigeria in Nsukka and at Universities in the USA. Having only a difference of two years in age, they are the voices of our generation who are contributing significantly to the creative world with their preoccupations being rooted to their immediate history and reality of the countries they reside in. It is wonderful to see threads of commonality in their sensibilities which  are evidently nurtured by the involvement with their own contemporaries. On similar lines, I've begun to read A New Anthem, which is an anthology of English writing by mainly second-generation South Asian writers, edited by Ahmede Hussain.

Malavika Rajnarayan

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Letter to another city

What is distance? The space between any two points, on a paper... between two minds. Therefore a letter; 
A line The alphabet The sound and from then on, Bridges of thought Ideas. A journey travelled A world traversed A by-lane with a hanging lantern Colour, light! The smoke from a tea stall A waft of aroma a slight nudge- a cow grazes past with a single tinkle A stream of water, picking up plastic bags, cigarette butts, dried leaves, grains of rice, It flows down to the main street. Where have I come? Where is the distance?

Malavika Rajnarayan

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Online Resources for Art Students

I have often pondered about what we understand by the word "resource" within our experiences of learning. As students, we were situated in institutes, where libraries and teaching faculty became our resources of learning. But to what extent have we used these resources to their maximum potential? For instance, my mother used to set a vacation routine for me while I was in school, where I had to spend an hour every day reading from a ten-volume Britannica encyclopedia. I read the story-section again and again, day after day, year after year and ignored the sections on history, art, society, mythology, science and many others. I missed the opportunity to take all that the encyclopedia could have offered me.

India's art institutions have been taking the flak for failing to generate critical discourses and dialogue amongst the students, owing to the dearth of scholarly presence in the teaching faculty. While it is surely justified in pointing the finger towards the people responsible for imparting instruction, I would also ask what the students are doing with all the resources that are available to them at hand's reach? How much time or effort does it take to walk to the library, read the titles on the spines of books, pick one up and read the essays/ look at the visuals? Why doesn't curiosity drive one to the library to browse?

Even if we accept that today's world depends much more on the internet for information, why is it not being used to its potential? I would go even further to say to all the facebook junkies amongst the students that there too, they can find art resources as most Contemporary Art Galleries have facebook pages with frequent updates on all their events and exhibitions. Galleries and museums now host amazing websites that are interactive, informative and serve as superb resources. Art documentaries on television channels are also easily accessible.  

Sudhir Patwardhan and Bhupen Khakhar are two examples of some of our finest artists and neither of them underwent academic art training. It is through the dialogue with their own peers, through their passion to seek information and through many hours of hard work in the studio that they created for themselves a niche in the history of contemporary Indian art.  At a time when there was no internet and the world relied on 'snail mail' for communication, artists were compelled to make the best use of the limited resources and every opportunity that would enrich their art practice was treated with the utmost fervour of sincerity. 

Over the past ten years, I have at different points of time searched on the internet for video art and the resources have consistently expanded and last year, I discovered 

Is it because I have found myself in certain circumstances (like having to teach a class) to look for resources? May be. But most of the time, my own art practice has created circumstances for questioning, seeking and discovery.

I was recently introduced to It is a wonderful intervention in the course of sharing art- history outside academic structures and I do believe that the some of the texts that are being archived on this website carry historical significance without which the comprehension of contemporary art today would be incomplete. 

Theen Tamasha and friends created the following list of resources that may merely serve as a starting point to further one's information on art.

Malavika Rajnarayan



Sakshi Gallery-

Gallery Chemould-

Pundole Art gallery-

Lakeeren gallery-

Guild gallery-

Galerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke-

Gallery Maskara-

Gallery BMB-


Vadhera Art Gallery-

Gallery Threshold-

Nature Morte -

Palette Art Gallery-

Delhi Art Gallery-

Gallery Espace - 


Auction Houses

Saffron Art-




Museum websites

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi, INDIA- 

National Museum, Delhi- 

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York-

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art-

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York- 

Smithsonian museums, Washington D.C.- 

The National Gallery, London-

TATE Modern, London- 

The Victoria and Albert museum, London- 

The British Museum-

The Louvre, Paris- France-

The Pompidou Centre- 

Museo Del Prado, Madrid- Spain- 


The following list is ONLY A SELECTION that is meant to lead one to more writings by the authors.

Geeta Kapur

Five Contemporary Indian Artists

When was Modernism

An Elegy for an Unclaimed Beloved: Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990)

The Evolution of Content in Amrita Shergil’s Paintings

K.G.Subramanyan (Monograph)

Quest for Identity (Vrischik Publication)

Gender Mobility: Through the lens of five women artists (Art and Visual Culture in India: 1987-2007 Marg Publication)

Inside Out: Women Artists of India

Partha Mitter 

Indian Art

Triumph of Modernism- Indian Artists and the Avant Garde, 1922-1947

Indian artists in the colonial period: The case of Bombay (Art and Visual Culture in India: 1987-2007 Marg Publication)


Moving Focus

Living Tradition

Creative Circuit

The Magic of Making- Essays on Art and Culture


Benodebehari Mukherjee: Life, Context, Work

Culture specificity, Art language and Practice of Modernism: An Indian perspective (Contemporary Indian Art and Other Realities- Marg Publication)

Gulammohammed Sheikh

Ruminating on ‘Life of the Medieval Saints’  by Benodebehari Mukherjee

Ranjit Hoskote

The Enigma of Presence: Reflections on the Human Figure in Modern Indian Art (From ‘Celebration of the Human Image- The human figure in Indian contemporary painting)

The Complicit Observer (Sudhir Patwardhan’s monograph)

The Openness of Secrecy: Soliloquy and conversation in the art of Surendran Nair

Now that the trees have spoken- Catalogue essay of exhibition of Non-urban art at Pundole Art gallery

Chaitanya Sambrani

Edge of Desire- Recent Art in India

Shadows, Reflections and Nightmare: the Art of Nalini Malani

Navjot: Of response and responsibility (From Expressions and Evocations- Marg publication)

Rustom Bharucha

Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin

Nilima Sheikh

Post-independence Initiative in Art

On Amrita Shergil: Claiming a radiant legacy (From the book Expressions and Evocations)

Nancy Adajania

Soloists in Shifting Ensembles: Bombay (text from (Chalo! India  - A New Era of Indian Art)

New Media overtures before New Media practice in India(Art and Visual Culture in India: 1987-2007 Marg Publication)

India’s New Progressives- (from ART ASIA PACIFIC- 50TH ISSUE)

The Mutable Aesthetic of New Mediatic Realism- (From Art India Quarter IV- 2005)

Images of Conflict, Icons of Power (From Art India- Quarter 2, 2003)

Kamala Kapoor

Art of Vivan Sundaram

Nalini Malani: Memory Stress and Recall (From Expressions and Evocations- Marg publication)

All publications of SAHMAT- has the following texts: 

“Place for People”- Geeta Kapur

“Questions and Dialogue”- Anita Dube

“The Group 1890”- J. Swaminathan

“Cholamandal” - K.C.S. Panicker

“Progressive Artists Group”- F. N. Souza

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Theen Tamasha Project: An Embrace of Belief for a friend

Sonatina Mendes is a member of our group and a friend and loved one for all of us who know her. Originally from Goa, she now lives and works in Baroda. As a woman artist desiring to live independently, safety and security have become major issues of concern that disallow the older traditions of freedom that artists enjoyed in this city in the past. It has also become increasingly difficult to procure rented accommodation in Baroda which is suitable as studio spaces. Every 11 months renegotiations of rent occur and women tenants face perpetual harassment to move out at short notice. It is for all these reasons and many more that we have bonded together to encourage  our friend Sonatina,  to take up the challenge of building a studio-home.

Spear headed by Rekha Rodwittiya and Surendran Nair who are handling this venture of building the studio-home for Sonatina, Theen Tamasha and other friends and colleagues are choosing to be collectively involved with this process as well. We as artists through the donation of our work,  have over the years constantly supported countless efforts to raise funds for numerous causes, and so we thought it is imperative to do something for someone within our own art community : for a friend who requires assistance and support, and to do it as a gift of belief.

Sonatina owns a plot of land of 1300 sq feet in Baroda, gifted to her by her parents who are settled in Goa. A studio home of 2400 sq ft  (ground plus 1st & 2nd floor) has been designed by Narendra Joshi who is working free for this project. The studio-home is being built under the supervision of Sailesh Mistry who has reduced his fee for this project. Uday Joshi and Kamlesh Patel are also serving this project  without accepting any labour fees for their work and consultancy. The list is long of those who are putting in their efforts to make the spirit of the collective,  realize this project. However for reasons of privacy  to those who are extending their support to this project, no donor friends name will be disclosed.

A group of artist friends from Baroda have already sold a work each, (through their respective galleries,  who waived their commission fee as a gesture of solidarity to this fund raising effort), and the entire proceeds of these sales have been given to this project.

The appeal we are making on our blog Theen Tamasha (and Friends) is to have a sale of works of Sonatina Mendes, through this blog space. Our target is to raise 20 lakhs which is the required amount to complete this studio-home. Every bit of help will add up and every gesture will be received with the deepest of gratitude.  We therefore fervently make this appeal to each of you with the hope that you will join us in contributing your support to our project. We also request you to help us to generate an interest for this endeavour by disseminating this appeal to those who you may believe to be empathetic to embracing such an idea as a collective project. All the sales will go directly to Sonatina Mendes. The unframed artworks will be packed and couriered by a reputed and established service, and the cost of all Indian posting will be undertaken by Theen Tamasha & Friends. The entire fund raising project and all the related modalities to this venture are personally being supervised by Rekha Rodwittiya & Surendran Nair.

The system we are proposing to follow is that the moment we receive a confirmation of a sale we will immediately remove that specific work/s from the list presented as available works. As mentioned earlier absolute privacy will be maintained and no names of those who support this project will be revealed, unless otherwise desired. We are deeply hopeful that many of you will open your hearts and embrace this idea with your support.

A list of the works are given below.

Please Note: Payments are accepted by Demand Draft of Cheque in favour of Sonatina Mendes








Monday, June 28, 2010