Hyderabad at the India Art Fair 2024: Kalakriti, Shrishti and Dhi galleries showcase artworks in which the contemporary meets traditional imagery

Feb 7, 2024


Three galleries from Hyderabad — Kalakriti, Shrishti and Dhi Contemporary — will be making their presence felt at the 15th edition of the India Art Fair 2024 (IAF), to be held in New Delhi from February 1 to 4 at NSIC Exhibition Grounds. This year’s edition features around 100 exhibitors, including 71 galleries, seven design studios and a few regional art institutes. 

Here’s an overview of what the Hyderabad galleries have in store for the event:

Windows to the Gods 

Gallery: Kalakriti

Artists: Sachin Jaltare, B Nagesh Goud, R Giridhar Gowd and Priyanka Aelay

Kalakriti art gallery, which has been participating in the IAF since 2014, is showcasing Windows to the Gods (at booth number D08), featuring works of Nagesh Goud, R Giridhar Gowd, Sachin Jaltare and Priyanka Aelay, all of them artists from the Telugu States. These artists depict stories from the puranas, reinterpreting the ancient texts. The artistic expressions combine paintings, sculptures, poetry and text, exploring concepts of spirituality and faith.

Sachin Jaltare’s abstract figuratives are a synergy of the form and the formless. “I have tried to present Shiva and Shakti, and Krishna such that the focus is on inward reflections and awakening of the consciousness,” the artist explains. In a painting featuring a group of people, Jaltare focuses on the divine energy that flows through them when they move away from all things materialistic. Acrylic on canvas, watercolours and pen and ink drawings in shades of grey, muted blues and an occasional touch of vermillion red render a meditative quality to his work. 

Priyanka Aelay reimagines the Ramayana in the mysterious forests

Priyanka Aelay reimagines the Ramayana in the mysterious forests
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Priyanka Aelay’s dark-themed paintings of flora and fauna are an extension of her earlier series on Ramayana and the folk story of Balanagamma. The acrylic on linen canvas artworks celebrate Nature, with the mysterious forests painted in deep greens and blues. A monkey eating a fruit alludes to the journey of Hanuman while a woman reaching out for help is akin to Sita. The unmistakable presence of a luminescent deer accentuates the inspiration from Ramayana. 

In contrast to the above, R Giridhar Gowd’s work is inclined towards traditional imagery of gods and goddesses. His set of 18 miniatures on Shiva and Shakti is inspired by the Vijayanagara style of paintings and based on his study of the Dakshinatya Natyakala Charitra by Nataraja Ramakrishna and Rupa Dhyana Ratnavali by Devadaya Dharmadaya Sakha. 

Mask by Nagesh Goud and a painting by R Giridhar Gowd

Mask by Nagesh Goud and a painting by R Giridhar Gowd
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Special Arrangement

Meanwhile, Nagesh Goud tries his hand at wall-mounted masks and tabletop sculptures, embellishing them with texts from the stories of Krishna and Rama. He presents fibreglass masks of Rama, Sita and Hanuman, three-dimensional sculptures of Krishna and Rukmini, and monochrome paintings of Krishna and Kamadenu. The artist who worked on masks for the first time says it was a year-long process working with clay and creating moulds before making the fibreglass structures. 

Having showcased at the IAF for a decade, the gallery’s co-founder and CEO Rekha Lahoti reckons that it is gratifying when regulars to the art fair recall their earlier showcases such as ceramics by Vinod Daroz and Avijit Dutta’s paintings and are eager to see what Kalakriti has in store. “When we began planning this year’s showcase a year ago, we wanted artists to explore mythology from a contemporary perspective and use various media,” she says. 

Migration and urbanisation

Gallery: Shrishti

Artist: Chippa Sudhakar

Shrishti art gallery returns to the IAF after a decade with a solo showcase of mixed media artworks by Chippa Sudhakar, at booth E11. In April 2023, the gallery featured a series by the artist that focussed on themes of migration and rapid urbanisation, at the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad and at Bikaner House in New Delhi. This year, the artist presents a new series of artworks that further explores these aspects, experimenting with wood, terracotta, soil and metal to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks.

Chippa Sudhakar explores migration and urbanisation in his mixed media series. Presented by Shrishti art gallery

Chippa Sudhakar explores migration and urbanisation in his mixed media series. Presented by Shrishti art gallery
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Special Arrangement

“We are showcasing more than 20 of his recent artworks, with the largest of them being 12 feet long and the smallest being an inch in diameter,” says Lakshmi Nambiar who spearheads the gallery. In 2014, she stepped in for her late mother Rema Nambiar at the art fair as a newbie. This will be her first full-fledged participation and she mentions that the journey from conceptualisation to the final showcase was both exciting and nervous.

For this series, Chippa Sudhakar draws viewers’ attention to the ramifications of rapid urbanisation that threatens to erase memories when people led unhurried lifestyles amid flora and fauna. Working from his studio in Vanasthalipuram in Hyderabad, he has witnessed the change first hand. What used to be a suburban area is now transforming into an urban hub with high rises and gated communities. The deer and peacocks that used to frequent the vicinity of his studio are now memories of the past. Drawing from his memory of rural life as well as relatively unhurried urban spaces, he uses traditional materials such as terracotta, soil and metal to present facets of the ever-changing life in the city.

In a disc-shaped artwork, he portrays vignettes of agrarian life in which men and women live in synergy with animals while going about their daily grind. In another, he replaces these images with high rises and cars that edge out the agrarian lifestyles. Both these circular artworks use charred wood to reiterate the effect of lopsided development.

An artwork by Chippa Sudhakar

An artwork by Chippa Sudhakar
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

In a few other works, he creates animal figures and later intersperses them with imagery of rural life on a circular surface with textured terracotta tiles. Drive around Hyderabad and it is impossible to miss the construction sites that turn erstwhile agricultural spaces or rock formations into real estate projects. In several of his mixed media works that also incorporate woodcut printing methods, Chippa Sudhakar shows the changing skylines.

Visual storytellers

Gallery: Dhi Contemporary

Artists: Arjun Das, Leena Raj, Poorvesh Patel, Sumana Som, Akhil Mohan and Harun Al Rashid 

Dhi Contemporary, an offshoot of Dhi Art Gallery, will be participating at the IAF for the second consecutive year. Interestingly, the gallery will feature recent works of Arjun Das, Leena Raj, Poorvesh Patel and Sumana Som whom it had showcased last year, in addition to Akhil Mohan and Harun Al Rashid. 

Artworks by Leena Raj, Akhil Mohan, Arjun Das, Harun Al Rashid and Poorvesh Patel, presented by Dhi Contemporary

Artworks by Leena Raj, Akhil Mohan, Arjun Das, Harun Al Rashid and Poorvesh Patel, presented by Dhi Contemporary
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Arjun Das furthers his exploration of the stories of workers in Kolkata’s Bara Bazar while Leena Raj experiments with Malayalam proverbs on her canvases. Rusted copper wires become a medium for Poorvesh Patel to reminisce about growing up in Navsari, Gujarat, surrounded by farmlands. Sumana Som stitches chapters of her personal life with history, while Akhil Mohan reflects on the relationship between people and the earth. Harun Al Rashid’s work harks back to family history, drawing from the memories he shared with his grandfather. In a statement, the founding director of Dhi Contemporary Bhargavi Gundala asserts the gallery’s vision to promote emerging talents from across the country to stoke conversations on contemporary art. Dhi’s showcase at Booth A07 will present diverse viewpoints of the six artists using a range of media.

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