The Game Changers.

I don’t remember exactly when and how I met them, but I do remember the time I first saw the stunning work and simultaneously met and realised how ‘real’ this duo was. The warmth and grounding, was perhaps the byproduct of a curious combustion of Jalandhar meets Delhi, or could well have been the resultant of discovering a creative soul-mate in each other …Whatever be the reason, Jiten Thukral & Sumir Tagra were a very welcome addition to the Art scene of India.

The reality aspect of course ends right there… for when it comes to their work (and their creativity in personal dressing), a pair of unconventional dreamers indulging in surreal expressions start to make their presence felt. T&T (as they are known) are like young scientists let loose in a laboratory, constantly experimenting and discovering newness. If not jet-setting across the planet, they will almost always be found in their studio spaces in Gurgaon. For artists who express in vibrant colours, the various shades of grey that surround them here are almost the perfect backdrop for their richly detailed canvasses.

They do work hard…very hard actually… and the effort in conceptualising and detailing is commendable. I also laud the fact that their works are so much more than just paintings or sculptures. In their own communique: Thukral & Tagra work on new formats of public engagement and attempt to expand the scope of what art can do. They break out of the mediated and disciplinary world and create multi-modal sensory and immersive environments. An unknown fact to most is that a fair amount of their work and creative expression revolves around games. They’ve taken some rather obvious everyday games (ping pong, snooker etc) and tweaked them into very original and meaningful activities… the resultant quirkiness and ingenuity, culminating in profound and important messages, reflect a unique creative prowess and a deeper thinking silently lurking somewhere beneath the art of the detailed brushstrokes.

Finally, and as always, I shall let the images say the rest.

PS* For those who may not know, the Indian art scene is a bit confused at present, having seen its glorious highs and its lamenting lows….the old masters still attract an impressive demand whilst the contemporary artist tries hard to make his presence felt. Barring the husband-wife team of Subodh Gupta & Bharti Kher, contemporary Indian art is slowly but surely finding its footing, both in India as well as Internationally. But as they say, the pleasure of life is in the journey and not in the destination; and it this very spirit that will continue to create great creativity and creators, and make the world a more beautiful place.

The masters too, after all, were newbies once…

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

 

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The Zen Monk

 

Spending time with artist Satish Gupta in his beautiful zen like studio is in itself a gratifying experience… to indulge oneself in such intense levels of character, culture, creativity and conversation justifies every single moment dedicated to the company of this modern day monk. Satish has always been special…he started dabbling in art at age 4, trained himself to excel in his chosen skills, has since created a large number of works spread across Canvas, Sculpture and Poetry with myriad inspirations involving portraiture, seascapes, Gods and his current passion, Buddha. Years back, his kindness and generosity gave me my very own Satish Gupta portrait, unarguably one of my favourite possessions till date…Years later, I had the chance of photographing him and presenting him with his portrait, unarguably one of the favourite portraits done by me!

Such is the magic of energies, specifically, positive energies and Satish’s work studio, ZAZEN is where his energy finds its peace (the images should support my belief). I spent a day with him yesterday, photographing my Spring-Summer fashion collection (another post coming your way soon) in this very beautiful environment and I realised that each and every time I visit him, I come back with a beautiful sense of calm and awe, emanating not respectively but together, both from the space and the man.

I deeply cherish my friendship with Satish and his wife Amita. Our many associations have only made our relationship deeper… from dressing him up for his wedding with Amita, to putting their son Ananda on the cover of my first ever book on fine art photography. Today, as he heads out to Venice to feature his work, MANDALA at the Arsenal of Venice amongst some of the best artists from across the planet, I’d like to thank him… for all the creativity that he’s brought into the world and specially, for bestowing upon me such a valuable friendship.

Create…my monk…Create! The world celebrates your gift!

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

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