Thought Box



by Vinta Nanda November 16 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 13 secs

Through the Radiance it is aptly called, because as you step into the exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery you are captivated by Amol Palekar’s work. The layers of colour are spellbinding, they envelope you, writes Vinta Nanda

Through the Radiance is a kaleidoscope on canvas art by actor Amol Palekar. Walking into the art gallery, I was instantly transported into a world where colours pulsated with life. The exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Fort, Mumbai from 15th to 20th November 2023, 11am to 7pm, is an immersive spectacle, a celebration that stirs the soul.

Each stroke of Palekar’s brush possesses life breathing into the canvas. The collection, unified by the artist's signature and abstract in form, conveys a narrative that speaks directly to the heart.

The use of colour is nothing short of mesmerizing. Bold, audacious strokes of reds collide with tranquil blues, while radiant yellows dance alongside soothing greens. The juxtaposition of these hues create an orchestra of emotions, eliciting joy, nostalgia, and a sense of wonder all at once.

Each painting comes alive as if the colours are in perpetual motion, casting their light upon you. This dynamic interplay enhances the dimension of the exhibition, inviting you into a dialogue with the canvas’, and textures beg to be touched, drawing you into an exploration beyond the images.

Palekar’s ability to evoke emotions through a riot of colours is remarkable. A harmonious amalgamation of abstract forms, each artwork resonates and lingers beyond the time spent at the gallery.

Through the Radiance is an experience that transports you to a realm where colours hold the power to spark imagination, and transcend boundaries. Amol Palekar left an indelible mark on my mind, and sent me home feeling privileged to have witnessed his breath-taking display of creativity.

Here is an extract from what Palekar writes about his work:

Many are aware that I am originally a professional painter, having graduated from the J J School of Art, Mumbai, and that I did multiple solo shows, till the actor in me overshadowed my first love for the next five decades. Even as a performing artist, I experimented with ‘space’ whether in theatre, and explored its visual possibilities. Since painting is completely a self-based activity, I am most comfortable in that role, I must confess. I am grateful to the blank canvas as it challenges me and reconfirms my faith in my creative abilities.

As a creator, I find abstractions fascinating. I was never attracted to realistic fidelity in visual arts. There is no identified story, no figures, no landscapes and no representations. Yet there is an authorial attempt to evoke an emotional response. When you listen to Madan Mohan’s eternal melodies, you are in love with them. Do you have to know the Raga or the notes of that aalap before devouring it? If we respond to music intuitively without knowing the grammar, why don’t we experience abstract art with the same openness? Why do we search for some recognizable form ignoring the stylistic nuances? Don’t we see the strokes, the colours, the texture…? Doesn’t it elicit some spark in you? Why is the first response - ‘We don’t understand abstract art!’ The answer is very clear in my mind - our ‘eyes’ are not trained enough as our ears are!

The preview was beautifully choreographed and the rendering of a medley of popular songs from Amol Palekar’s films by the Konkan Kanya Band with Raviraaj conducting it, was spellbinding. The songs included Jab Deep Jale Aana, Jab Shaam Dhale Aana, Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein, Sur Mila Le, Sang Ga Le, Toh Zindagi Ho Jaye Safal, Gori Tera Gaon Bada Pyaara, Main Toh Gaya Maara Aake Yahan Re, Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha Kaha, Magar Na Jaane Aisa Kyun Laga, Uthe Sab Ke Kadam Dekho Rum Pum Pum, Aji Aise Geet Gaya Karo and Aane Wala Pal Jaane Wala Hai.

A visibly overwhelmed Amol Palekar, spoke to the audience, thanking them for being there and grateful to the band, which gave voice to the evergreen songs from many of his films.

Sandhya Gokhale, Palekar’s wife and curator, says in her note: Amol Palekar believes that an artistic pursuit is not merely a self-absorbed activity but one which may also contribute towards alleviation of human/societal ills. He also believes in absorbing the patrons of art in this humble quest. With this faith, a few of his paintings displayed in the three sections of this show are pledged for two causes - for the treatment of the underprivileged and elderly patients with various neurological ailments, and second, for facilitating continued education of the children of the COVID Widows. He appeals to the viewers to join him in this noble pursuit. 

Among the guests were Kumar Ketkar, Ravish Kumar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Deepali Vaidya, S Haider Ali, Uma, Saurabh and Surbhi Vanzara, Pravesh Sippy, Kishore Kadam and Aparajita Krishna.

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