Swinging down memory lane
How miraculously does an inanimate object like a swing [jhoola] personify the journey from childhood to youth and beyond it too. In an individual’s life, there are numerous memories, rituals and events attached to the swing. Even the gods are not left behind in experiencing the fervour of the jhoola, or so say our religious scriptures.
Combining a swing’s phenomenal presence and utility, artist Ramchandra Pokale underlines a complex layering of childhood experiences in and around a swing in his recent exhibition. Titled Swing...Upswing, it marks the fifth solo showing by him and centres around the theme of daily living.
‘Swing Upswing presents a series of works around my preoccupation with everyday existence. I tried to depict a continuous life cycle from the cradle of birth to that of a well-earned retirement, perched on a swing,’ said Pokale.
The highlight of the artworks is the creation of a new language to define human growth where it is not the figurative form that changes its contours, but where, by means of a piece of furniture, notably a swing, the artist grasps, evokes and reviews life’s twists and turns through a seemingly lifeless object of utility, a swinging device.
His exhibition is marked by thematic presentations on human growth through the formative years of youth to that of maturity and old age. ‘The happy experience that comes with sitting on a swing, be it in the cradle of infancy, the childhood thrills of swinging on a school gate, the sheer abandon of gripping a swaying branch for an impromptu joyride, or a pensive moment of adolescent yearning for romantic love, cadenced on a swing is what I have showcased. I have depicted human forms in swinging movements with movements of continuity, meditation, insight and reflection,’ he added.
The 30 large acrylic works use the technique of layered applications of colour with figurative forms arranged to create a theme of drama and theatre in the graining of the background. The figures bear a 3D effect that take a viewer into the depths of their long lost memories.
‘If we go through the history of many paintings in different schools like Pahari school, Orissa school, Tanjore school, Rajasthani school, Radha and Krishna are sitting on a swing and surrounded by gopis or without them, and the swing by Amrita Shergill including Western paintings like The Swing by Pierre Renoir, Girl on a swing by Winslow Homer and many more, have romanticised the use of swing. This is from where I derived my major inspiration,’ said Pokale.
‘Pokale’s works situate the human form within this leitmotif, so that the mundane swing is superimposed with a feel of a silent reality evoking a gush of memories. And it is this capacity to symbolise the motional rhythm of a swing with that of the cycle of life that becomes a proven touch of talent in Pokale’s art,’ remarked art critic Subhra Mazumdar.
‘In many houses people have the jhoola where they sit and relax. Pokale’s paintings narrate swings of all types which a child can make with all household items with which children get more joy and energy. His doll-like children appear more relaxed at one point and energetic and confident on the other. This may be an act of childhood which helps in making a child successful human being,’ pointed out Paramjeet Singh, Acting Chairman, AIFACS.
At: AIFACS Gallery, Rafi Marg, Connaught Place
On Till: 14 September
Timings: 11 am onwards