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Usually unusual India

Usually unusual India
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Tina Chandroji’s oil on canvas paintings are like an arranged symphony. Garlands made of marigold, rose and jasmine, baskets full of petals and bouquets holding delicate stems, are all neatly arranged inside a flower shop. Chandroji’s painting looks so real that you can almost smell the scent of flowers. And that’s not all, her portrayal of Indian-ness in this most unusual way surfaces in the form of a bakery, music shop, vegetables and fruits shop, groceries’ shop, carpet shop, wine shop and even an office space. What connects all these paintings - apart from their stunningly real and meticulous depiction - is the presence of God in each work.

Mumbai-based Tina Chandroji, 34, believes that God is omnipresent and a part of every aspect of our lives and this is the thought behind her new body of works which will be exhibited in a show titled Cityscapes. Presented by Mumbai’s Art Space gallery, the show includes nineteen paintings in oil on canvas.

Born in a Gujarati joint family of jewellers, Chandroji recalls that it was a childhood passion to paint that took her to JJ School of Art in 2001. ‘My mother is the religious one and I inherited the same from her,’ says Chandroji, ‘I have always been inspired by our cultural upbringing. Whether one lives in metros, villages or anywhere in the universe, one is in constant touch with God. My paintings connect us to the greatest gods of Indian culture. From roadside hawkers to offices of multinational companies, we are all connected to God.’

Her ornately detailed works create an impact that only realism can. The work titled Antiques, for instance, is a delight to behold. Chandeliers and clocks, furniture and gramophone, artefacts and cabinets are so neatly arranged that every single element comes together to resemble a real shop. Or consider the work titled Vegetable Stall. Multi-coloured vegetables bunched together in artistic heaps, a transistor radio, photographs, hanging lamps, blue plastic bags hung on the wall - there is a photographic quality to each of her works. ‘As an Indian, you would have always seen shops like these,’ says Chandroji.

‘These are sights that I have grown up seeing in Mumbai, and these are present all over India. Religion and business is extremely intertwined. If you observe, you will see that every shop in India has a picture of God, another tradition, which is so unique to our culture,’ she says. ‘It’s common knowledge that bakeries are usually run by Christians or Parsis, grocery shops by West Indians, vegetable and fruits by North Indian and perfumes by Muslims and each of these places have a special place for their Gods.’.

It is also like creating a film set. And that is what she did after completing her Bachelors in Fine Arts from JJ School of Art, Mumbai. She was the Assistant Art Director for the first season of Kaun Banega Crorepati and went on to become the Art Director for Salman Khan starrer Lucky- No Time For Love. With marriage in 2002 to art director and story board writer for Hindi and regional films, Chandroji was first initiated into the world of photography before she became a full-time artist. Her first solo show was at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2012.

‘It takes me four to five months to complete a painting, though I work on three paintings at a time,’ she chuckles, as she recalls how viewers get so drawn to her work they want to touch and feel it!

WHERE: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre
WHEN: 12 to 19 September, 10 am to 8 pm
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