The exhibition entitled 'Mahatma 150' presents a selection of drawings/sketches on Gandhi by Telangana based artists Shankar Pamarthy, curated by Ruchi Sharma. Coinciding with the legend birth anniversary which is celebrated as 'International Day of Non-Violence'.
‘For Me… Every Pose is a Message!’- Shankar
Recalling his childhood days (the artist) - celebrating Independence Day, and the preparations - ‘singing patriotic songs, cultural programs, and flag hoisting ceremony… was great fervour. `
Shankar states: “For me, the most common and attractive photo among the National leaders and freedom fighters were of Mahatma Gandhi. I would wonder how this thin austere personality, who wear nothing but a simple dhothi could be fought against the mighty British and brought freedom to this country? Probably this is how I started developing an inclination to Gandhi, not only as an ideal figure but also I chose as my subject for drawing.”
Shankar has used a variety of techniques - drawing in pencil, pen, ink, and even colour pencils - demonstrate Gandhi's philosophy through their pictorial, thoughtful and at times satirical approaches. While every frame sums up the sketches - sharp and bold.
Got inspired by the linear caricature of Gandhi which used to be broadcast on the National Channel ‘Doordarshan’ - by N.K. Ranga, a Bangalore based cartoonist, who enjoyed the privilege of having his drawings on Gandhi released in the form of postal stamps. For Shankar fascination for Gandhi’s figure grew gradually, Shankar used to collect photographs, illustrations and images and preserve them as pleasure and use them in his drawings.
Gandhi as a favourite subject for many artists', to name few Nandalal Bose, K. Adimoolam, Gopi Gajwani, Haku Shah, Micky Patel, and others rendered the image of Gandhi in their individualistic styles. On this occasion of 150 years of Gandhi, as the Nation is paying homage to the most lovable Indian leader, Mahatma. The show in-counters a few bodies of work (selection of 40 sketches) where Gandhi is envisioned as a yogi, a philosopher, a triumphant leader, and as a common man. Each pose evokes its own aesthetic quality without losing the essence of the Mahatma as a multifaceted persona.
Shankar sees, Gandhiji as a simple man, thus the choice to depict him using simple lines - conceived various expressions, walking philosopher, the spiritual soul in meditation; and as an uncomplicated statesman and peace lover, who lead the people to gain their fundamental rights. Hence, the artist preferred simplicity while portraying all these poses and developed an individualistic visual idiom for the renditions. The present body of work comprised of both his old drawings on Gandhi and the newly created artworks for the exhibition on the eve of 150 Years of Mahatma - speak of different colours of life-hope, humour, pain, happiness and peace. All find space here at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad from 28th September - 6th October 2019.