Farhad Husain explores the complex dynamics of human relationships in urban societies with his exhibition, Phantasmagoria
This exhibition features artists who interpret real-world issues through dystopian imagery
"I have always enjoyed the inner politics of human relationships. In my earlier works, I created images from my day-to-day visual experiences. But they were always presented with a touch of humour and sarcasm," says 45-year-old artist Farhad Husain. Originally from West Bengal, Husain explores the complex dynamics of human relationship in urban societies, mostly nurtured by the hand of capitalism. His artwork, ‘Pre Wedding Fun’, looks at the male-female sexuality from an Indian wedding point-of-view. Although, adding a touch of humour, Husain tries to portray an underlying sense of pathos through the painting. This, and a few of his artworks, is presented at Latitude 28 Gallery, Lado Sarai. The exhibition titled ‘Phantasmagoria’ started on Wednesday and will have the works of the artist on display till November 15.
Also featuring works by Dileep Sharma, Pratul Dash, and George Martin, the artists showcase their takes in problematising the concept of reality through paintings. Using bold colours and immaculate techniques, each artist draws inspiration from popular culture, juxtaposing their ideas with disenchantment and surrealism. The exhibition is curated by Latitude 28 director Bhavna Kakar, who had keenly observed the artists, only to find an underlying similarity in their works. “The language of art—taking serious issues and portraying them in a humorous way—has become sidelined, and I was keen to bring back this adventurous palette to mainstream art galleries,” says Kakar.
Merging dreams in society
Dash, who has been painting for the last 24 years, uses the painted surface to distort the viewer’s perception of reality. His artworks are a surrealist approach to socio-political issues that he projects through a dream-like imagery. While speaking of his painting ‘Moon Walk’, which is part of the exhibition, Dash explains, “Animals are important motifs that I use. The ostrich in the painting has its head down like us humans who do not want to see the issues of the world. The egg is also a powerful image; I painted golden lines on top of it to show that it is cracked, representing today’s divided society.”
Without being too overt with imagery, Dash aestheticises politics in his paintings. On the other hand, Sharma, a Rajasthan native, looks at portraits and its larger-than-life quality. Observing portraits of Colombian singer Shakira and iconic painters such as Amrita Sher-Gil and Frida Kahlo, Sharma represents such artists through personal interpretations. “I have used bold colours for Kahlo to show her power. But my portrait is not particular to Kahlo. I portray her from a common person’s perspective to make her more relatable,” says the 47-year-old painter.
Stepping away from reality
By delving deep into make-belief worlds, these artists try to question the viewers’ ideas of society. Seamlessly adding humour and sarcasm to the mix, they subvert popular culture by presenting nuanced layers of paradoxes. “There is a likeness to real life but the overall artworks are a disenchantment of reality with the artists creating their surreal representations,” concludes Kakar.