Form.Less, 10th Solo show of Nalini Misra Tyabji

FormLess 10th Solo Show Nalini Misra Tyabji  Stills

Entry: Free

Venue: Visual Arts Gallery
India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Parking: Gate No. 1, 2 & 3 (Cars), Gate No. 2 (Bikes & Bicycles)
Venue Info: Events | About | Map | Nearest Metro Stations :
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Event Description: Form.Less, 10th Solo show of Delhi-based artist Nalini Misra Tyabji

Dashavatar, Devis, Matrikas and other mythological figures form the repertoire of Delhi-based artist Nalini Misra Tyabji’s vibrant and whimsical canvases in a mega-show of 208 works 

The iconography that inhabits Delhi-based artist Nalini Misra Tyabji’s universe of paintings - and it is indeed a universe for it includes as many as 208 works - is extraordinary. Gods and goddesses, the Sun and the Moon, birds and animals, trees and imaginary creatures – all find their way into this mega-show which is also her seventh solo. But, it is the touch of the whimsical in these intricately worked images that creates an immediate emotional connect and transports the viewer into a world that is, simultaneously, vibrant yet serene and playful yet profound.

Titled Form.Less, the show will be on at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, from November 23 till November 27, 2019, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The show Form.Less is an imaginative engagement with both the figurative and the abstract style. Formless, a synonym for the word divine, also imparts a subtle sub-text to the show. The central work of the show, titled Formless, is a large canvas measuring three feet by three feet. Drawing her inspiration and imagery from a complexity inherent in patchwork quilting, she shows how nature flourishes when untouched by man.

Her artworks are inspired by the world of mythology and folklore. “I am neither religious nor ritualistic in the conventional sense,” says Tyabji. “I am an observer of life. I do try to commune with my spirit and this makes me feel deeply connected to everything and everyone around me even though my work makes me a recluse! This does sound like a contradiction in terms but it is a fact that my solitude is the best nurturing ground for my imagination. The more I imagine, the more I feel the connection with my universe and the more I am compelled to create. What starts in my imagination leads to a creativity that becomes my new reality. It is this creativity that has to be the highest outcome of my human existence as an artist.”

Even as a young girl it was the Mahabharata that had made the greatest impact on Tyabji through the form of Krishna. He became not only a dominant and recurring part of her iconography but also her Muse, but with a difference. Her Krishna images turned androgynous. On one of the walls, as many as thirteen vibrant Krishna forms exist alongside the elements of nature, showing the inter-connectedness of the divine form with what He Himself has created. Here, we see Krishna lying under a mushroom or sitting on a cricket or conversing with a frog. “I am celebrating the sookshma roop (subtle form) of Krishna that I see as a divine matrix or web that knits together every single atom of this Universe. Every single creation of His is important in the scheme of things.” This series is titled Chittchor. “My Krishna is a perennial seven year old, lotus-eyed, long haired, who loves to sing and dance and play his flute and pull pranks and stage a joyful, never ending performance, or Leela, in front of all those who have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the minds and hearts to love. The only difference is that through my artworks, I have liberated Him from a transfixed Goverdhan posture, set as a frieze in a huge wall of heavy, black stone, in a haveli in Nathdwara, where he is worshipped as Shrinathji!” The other aspect of Tyabji’s Krishna creations celebrates the Shringara rasa or the flavours of love and compassion, beauty and attraction that are so intrinsic to the Classical Indian Arts.

The feminine is celebrated by Tyabji with equal vigour. A set of ten paintings dedicated to the Devis honours the Female Principle. Being gender sensitive, the idea of the Ardhnarishwar - the half male half female divine being- is right up her alley. Her Devis, though soft and feminine, appear as strong women, looking you straight in the eye and riding their bulls, tigers and lions with great panache. “I am a humanist and make no distinctions between genders, castes and religions. Those who respect women know that there is no other way forward. The female is half the species and half of the key to the whole. This wall is a dedication to that female aspect called Prakriti or Nature that brings forth Life.”

It was natural, then, that the eight Matrikas and their consorts came to Tyabji’s attention. Matars or Matri are a group of mother goddesses. Being personified powers of different Devas, Brahmi emerged from Brahma, Vaishnavi from Vishnu, Maheshwari from Mahesh etc. The only Matrika powerful enough in her own right, to not need a male consort for her existence, is Chamunda, hence Tyabji has paired her with another of her forms - Kali.

Yet another wall focuses on the Dashavatar, based on the Hindu belief that after the creation of this world God came down nine times to destroy demons and to restore Dharma or the moral law governing individual conduct. The Hindu Scriptures describe His coming through four, endless, cyclical periods of existence and in various forms - from a fish to a highly evolved human in the form of Krishna or to the highly enlightened one in the form of Buddha. He is slated to come a tenth time as Kalki, the horse riding dispeller of darkness and sorrow, to end this Kali period, the last of the four yugas (periods). “Initially I was amazed at how Darwinian this sounded considering Darwin was born thousands of years later and how the subject matter of Avatars showed such a deep knowledge of evolution. Subsequently, I am veering to the highly unorthodox, new-age scientific research that suggests that humans came into being exactly as they are today, no doubt through some divine intervention that caused a deliberate fusion of some chromosomes.  My understanding is that Humankind has not evolved at the physical level at all but rather at the mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual level only.”

An interesting artwork inspired by Tyabji’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh where she witnessed the worship of the Sun and the Moon is called Donyi Polo. As she had already painted the nine planets, she decided to do a much larger piece combining the Sun and the Moon. But none of her works is without the flight of imagination, and hence, you have Donyi Polo where you see her swinging from the Moon! “I feel that our lives are heavily influenced by the stars because we, ourselves, are made up of nothing more than star dust.” 

Then there are imaginary creatures too. “One day I started doodling and out poured a poem about a Zoo! This gave birth to a set of six imaginary creatures in black ink & gold called The Beesh, The Floze, The Woodplips, The Doyce, The Aze and the The Monce.” These can put a smile on anyone’s face, but it is not just her imagination that makes Tyabji’s canvases strikingly unique, it is also her penchant for experimentation.

This is the first time that she has worked in abstracts. Colourful, and full of joyous freedom, is how one can describe these. “The idea was to go from the really representative or recognisable subject matter to the more organic, intuitive and abstract forms.”

A set of sixteen abstract works have been created using the mono-printing gelliplate, where one print develops along with a host of lighter or ghost prints out of one design. It is usually acrylic colour laid down in many layers into which arbitrary design has been etched with brushes or fingers or any other tool. Paper is laid on top of the plate and pushed down on to the paint to pick up the colour and design. “This is the first time I have experimented with this plate and I find it hugely exciting as the printed papers that come out can be incorporated into art in many different ways- as backgrounds or as collaged foreground shapes.”

Whether it is the divine forms of gods and goddesses, imaginary creatures, animals or birds, or your friendly, neighbourhood flower seller, each work resonates with Tyabji’s signature style – a style full of vivid colour and vibrant strokes and a vivacious intricacy that is as alluring as it is varied.

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Form.Less, 10th Solo show of Nalini Misra Tyabji Form.Less, 10th Solo show of Nalini Misra Tyabji Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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