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Asking questions from destiny

Exhibition titled ‘Destiny, Sold Out’ features probing paintings by Shiffali and surreal sculptures by Tapasya.

 Uma Nair |  2018-08-11 16:22:03.0

Opening at the Visual Arts Gallery on August 14 is Georgina Maddox curated stubbing show of powerful figuratives on canvas, as well as sculptures in a quixotically titled show 'Destiny, Sold Out'.

"Fate and Destiny are perceived as twin sisters, that guide humankind through the perils of life. Destiny may be read as both redemption and nemesis of human existence," says critic and curator Maddox. "According to Modern philosophers, destiny ultimately revolves around death, rather than the events of one's life while fate has been connected to the concept of life. This has however been challenged. Destiny and Fate have been relevant in every civilization whether Hellenic or Vedic, since the dawn of time."

This exhibition features probing paintings by Shiffali Wadhawan and surreal sculptures by Tapasya Gupta. It explores the notion of destiny and the various myths, traditions, allegories, and perceptions created around it.

"Destiny has been formally defined as the power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events," opines Maddox one of the finest critics in the country. " Shiffali and Tapasya examine in detail and depth the human condition and its relation to the idea of destiny. Often in situations of complete despair when there is no answer in sight we humans are faced with the big question 'why is this happening to me?'"

With the figurative perfectionist Shiffali Wadhawan, the objects and figures work as references that invests these works with a strong biographical and emotionally resonant note. Wadhawan works on realist principles but it is her approach and subject sensitivity that brings in a surrealism that is both symbolic as well as sensitive to her output rooted in a consistent set of emotional themes. Indeed, the eternal thread may be read as the realm of the unconscious, timeless and eternal, from which the multifarious and at times contradictory forms of her art emerge.

The finesse and felicity of forms and scale of these works reflect the artist's research into correspondences between the shapes of human figurines and the contours of bird in the realism of a scenic spectacle. The flamingoes appear formally factual, but within their perfection of form and figure, we can glimpse spirits of different ages and statuses and will evoke mediums or visionaries engaged in a conversation that is part convocation and part choral lament. With allusions to the reality of life-destiny and dictates and spiritual travel, Wadhawan offers a conversation for these imagined voices and premonitions and underscores the brevity of human existence relative to cosmic and geologic time in which nature plays a vital part.

Tapasya Gupta creates hybrid sculptures that dwell both on symbolism as well as the blended realities of today. She expands her ongoing explorations into the histories of specific mediums bronze, metal wood as well as fiberglass to give us stories within stories. In these quaint hybrids like creations, we glimpse artistic forms and dualities as well as cultural symbolism.

In her sculptures, Tapasya traces the history of the contours in composition across centuries and diverse geographies – following its transitions and shifting associations, from the sacred to the political to the emotional. Her sculptures invade the space in moments when the storyline ascends and descends and then recedes, channeling a discomfort within sterile environments and the invisible alien aftermaths that engulf us and transform our very inner recesses.

The show runs till August 18 at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre.

Uma Nair

Uma Nair

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