Michelle Y Poonawalla to exhibit Born Free at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
After having a number of impactful exhibitions in Delhi, Pune and Parma (Italy) earlier this year, renowned artist Michelle Y Poonawalla will be exhibiting Born Free, a series of 25 new works at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, exploring the fragility and power of nature.
Her works comprise a series of animal portraits highlighting the variance of life from the strength of the bull to the fragility and beauty of the butterfly. The works are superimposed with a mapped digital projection, allowing them to run off the canvas and into the gallery and our world. By forcing the artwork beyond the canvas and into the gallery, the artist asks the viewer to address their own relationship with these animals.
The exhibition is a tribute to Poonawalla’s late grandfather Jehangir Vazifdar, a renowned architect and artist, contemporary to many of the great Indian masters including Bhupen Khakhar, Prabhakar Barwe and S.B. Palsikar. The paintings utilise a technique Poonawalla first learned from Vazifdar, where the paints are mixed directly on the canvas creating a thick impasto style, which is carved into with a ruler resulting in a textured effect impossible to copy.
Poonawalla has built on Vazifdar’s technique by projecting an interactive and dynamic image on top of the canvas. Creating a new digital art form which uses motion sensors to react to the audience, Poonawalla's works reflect the resilience and strength of the old masters' techniques while incorporating latest technologies. The results allow an otherwise static artwork to come to life, drawing the audience into the work and the work into the gallery.
The exhibition will be followed by a collateral project at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2018, which will further address the issue of fragility and mankind looking at conflicts and war. The work will continue Poonawalla’s use of digital media to present images of violence and suffering alongside her signature butterfly motif used to represent the souls of innocent victims of conflict.
Poonawalla, whose first solo show was in 2016 at Gateway School alongside artists, such as, Thota Vaikuntam, Ramesh Gorjala, Vijay Kadam and Ajay De, keeps coming back to the theme of nature, incorporating her butterfly motif first developed in 2016. Besides her work as an artist, Poonawalla did the illustartions for her daughter Tania Poonawalla's book, The Adventures of Harvey Mouse Sleepover in 2017.
Michelle Y Poonawalla's upcoming exhibition titled Born Free will be held at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, from November 6 - 12, 2018.