Life as we know it began from water. Water in the womb cradles the beginning of our existence. The immense potential of water to give life as well as take it away has intrigued humanity since its origin.
Artists have long explored, with fascination, the origin of water, its substance, its definite form, its changing state and its immense significance for humanity through religious rituals, myths and fairy tales, poetry and dramas, music and paintings in almost all the cultures since ancient times.
Today, the world over, we are grappling with the spill-offs of greed and ignorance as our water bodies are fast disappearing or getting poisoned.
Sharing such stories about water is the art exhibition titled ‘Life of Forms through Water’, which will open at Gallery Gitanjali on January 5 at 6 p.m.
This exhibition forms part of a Visual Project, conceptualised and curated by Neeta Omprakash.
“This theme emerged from my previous curatorial project. I had curated an exhibition of transnational Indian and African artists in USA during my Nehru-Fulbright senior research fellowship in 2012-13. That exhibition was curated at AKUS gallery, ECSU, Willimantic, CT USA. The title of that exhibition was “From motherhood to Mother goddess: transcendence from self to absolute”. One of the art works was the goddess of water, which inspired me to curate a show with the theme of water. Besides, water is central to all life. Apart from giving life, water also gives joy”, says curator, Neeta Omprakash, who spent one and half year’s time in bringing this exhibition together.
This group exhibition has a combination of American and Goan artists. Participating Artists from USA are Anjali Deshmukh, Amina Ahmed and Robert Kirschbaum from Trinity College, Hartford, Afarin Rahamanifar from ECSU, Willimantic, USA, Krishna Reddy, Judy Reddy and Gail Gelburd from ECSU, Willimantic, Kathryn Myers from Connecticut University, Connecticut, Vinode Dave and Peggy Blood.
Participating Artists from Goa are Hanuman Kambli, Suhas Shilkar, Francis Desousa, Querozito D’Souza, Liesl Cotta D’ Souza, Fernanda Demelo, Chaitali Morajakar, Shilpa Mayenkar, Naini Arora, Raymond Pereira, Prashant Nageshkar, Swapnesh Vaigankar, Manjunath Naik, Loretti Pinto, Tanaji Shet, Sidharth Gosavi, Sachin Naik and Viraj Naik.
Speaking about this collaboration, Neeta says, “This exhibition is a continuation of my Fulbright project, hence some of the artists whom I had interviewed during my stay at USA have been part of this show. I have interacted with them for a long time and know their art process. I appreciate their concepts and visual expression, so I have invited them to Goa so that Goan art connoisseurs can see their work as well. This kind of project enhances the creative process. I have also shown Goan artists in USA.”
Water, which is a sensitive topic and involves various facets, is well reflected in this exhibition. “Nature gives water in abundance for free, but man claims the propriety over it. Water has become a commodity to be sold in supermarkets and the industrialists earn millions over the freely available natural resource. Many socio-political issues are arising over the division of river water and dams. On one side, we consider water as sacred and used in all socio-religious rituals as a purification element and on the other side, we pollute the same source from which we collect the water for the religious rituals. Artists Tanaji and Siddharth’s work is a comment about this issue. Gail’s installation is about the Japan Tsunami. Kathryn’s photographs of contaminated water in the canal were clicked in Varanasi. Swapnesh has expressed the agony of fish, which struggle to breathe in the contaminated water. Hanuman Kambli’s print is about the first selfie man must have seen, which was the first reflection in water. Prashant’s works, ‘To lure’, are expressions of the magnetic pull that water has for all, animate and inanimate. Francis’s work is futuristic-he brings in humour-in future the fish will be available for cheaper than water. You will have all the emotions expressed in various forms”, says Neeta.
This exhibition also includes a printmaking workshop organised at Ray’s Atelier in Colva from January 9 to 16. The works produced shall then be exhibited in the month of February at Ray’s Atelier.
These art events aim to bring together artists from Goa and the transnational Indian, African, Iranian artists settled in USA.
(All the events are sponsored by Lalit Kala Academy and supported by Gallery Gitanjali, Fundacao Oriente and Ray’s Atelier. The opening of the exhibition is on January 5 at 6 p.m. at Gallery Gitanjali, Fontainhas, Panaji. It will be on till January 12)