Pichvai revivalist Pooja Singhal showcases her latest works at Galleryske
THE PICHVAI TRADITION has seen a resurgence of late and that’s thanks in no small part to the efforts of Delhi-based Pooja Singhal. Now, the art revivalist brings her exhibition, Greyscale Pichvais, to Galleryske.
Born and raised in Udaipur, the artform, which originated in Nathdwara, Rajasthan (48 kilometres from Udaipur), always fascinated her for as long as she can remember. It was during one of her trips to the city in 2009, after having moved to Delhi years before, that she started commissioning Pichvai works for herself. “Good Pichvai was difficult to find and I wanted to get some made by traditional artists, to add to my personal collection,” recalls Pooja. Soon the number of pieces grew to about 15-20 and she wanted her friends in Delhi to see them too. “They loved it. And asked me to get some done for them. That’s how it all started,” says Pooja, who then set up her atelier, Tradition & Beyond.
The artform, which is known for its religious iconography, specifically of Shrinathji, an avatar of Lord Krishna, was deconstructed, experimented with and tweaked, to appeal to a wider audience. In Greyscale Pichvais in particular, there’s a lot of attention to paintings done in greyscale, as the name suggests. This is unheard of in the tradition.
About 80 per cent of the works, have no religious symbolism but depict some of the other motifs and elements that are synonymous with the paintings, such as priests, cows and lotuses. “So even if you are not a follower of Shrinathji, you can hang these paintings in your home,” explains Pooja. Besides creating greyscale Pichvais, and giving it a secular approach, Pooja has also miniaturised them, added in elements from Mughal paintings and is also presenting some pieces in their unfinished ‘sketch’ stage. “It’s all very minimal and contemporary but with a strong traditional aesthetic,” shares Pooja. Miniature paintings, a completely different artform requiring an entirely different skill set, was a challenge to work with. Pooja says, “It took a lot of practice, from getting the scale right to perfecting the expressions. For instance, for one whole month, my artists practised drawing cows, because it was difficult to get their eyes right.”
The show will see 40 pieces being displayed. The exhibition follows a number of others held in places like India Art Fair and Bikaner House in Delhi, the Kochi Muziris Biennale and Famous Studios in Mumbai.
Rs.24,000 upwards. October 12-November 16. At Langford Town