A different art gallery

Magnitude art gallery exhibits works by their own artists, with paintings inspired by rural India. Five photographers document the changes and loss caused by modernisation, in the show 5x8

The Adigas fast food joint at Jayanagar 4th block is known to all south Bangaloreans and people of all ages come here to enjoy the food and coffee. But most of them are so busy that they don’t notice a serene art haven called Magnitude Art Gallery, situated straight down the road.

Magnitude Art Gallery hosts exhibitions by artists whom they promote. It is one of the few firms that encourage talented yet unknown artists from various parts of Karnataka. The gallery has artists who work only for Magnitude; their work is exhibited and sold here. The artists work on a theme, which changes every month. Magnitude decides what the theme will be. These multi talented artists work with all media like oil on canvas, water colours, acrylic, mixed media and murals.

Vivhitra painting

From the Vichitra collection (Pic: Lakshmi Menon)

The theme of the current exhibition, Vichitra, is a collection of missing text. The paintings show a clear influence of rural India, in terms of colours and basic ideas. There is a vastness of imagination and skill in this vibrant show that is on till end of this month.

Other than the main theme exhibition, Magnitude has a display of smaller sized paintings called Masterpiece, where the mediums are mainly watercolour and acrylic on paper. These paintings are available at low and affordable prices that start at Rs. 800.

The gallery also displays a number of paintings that are part of previous exhibits. Among these, the works from the last exhibition on Shirdi Sai Baba are worth mentioning. These paintings of the idol and paintings from photographs are absolutely life like. It is amazing how the same set of artists can create abstract work, portraits, still life and landscapes, all so perfectly.

The gallery has options to customize paintings to any choice of colour, size, et cetera. It also helps create unique corporate gifting ideas, in the form of paintings made to order. The gallery is open on all days from 10 AM to 8 PM.

Images from the past and the present

Five photographers came together with their individual collections based on a common theme of loss of the glorious past. With the advent of modernisation, this theme is fairly common now. The world around us is changing so quickly that we see unbelievable changes in one lifetime. With every passing year, there are so many crafts, art forms and cultures becoming extinct and that was what the photo exhibition 5 X 8 depicted. The photo exhibition concluded on 14th April at Tasveer, the photo gallery at Sua House, near British Library.

Vichitra painting

From the Vichitra collection (Pic: Lakshmi Menon)

‘My People’, the collection by Vinay Midhar, showed people from a lost era. Through his photos, the artist finds beauty in the idea of loss. He has captured street kids who make a living by performing the traditional art of whipping. This sight was common on Indian streets till about a decade ago; all of a sudden we don’t see it anywhere.

‘The Ole of Tamasha’ by Sudharak Olwe, showed the glitter and glamour of Lavani dancers from Maharashtra. He has shown how dancers join the troupe when they are really young, mostly as sister duos and how they grow with the troupe. There are mother-daughter duos too. According to one of the dancers, Vaishali, “We have preserved the Lavani tradition for the people of Maharashtra, yet society looks down upon us. We dancers are considered temptresses.” Olwe also showed performers who wear ghungroos that weigh up to seven kilograms and yet give an electrifying performance for 45 minutes or more.

A collection of urban India ‘The Built Landscape’ by Zubin Pastania depicted Mumbai of the present. With huge colonies and buildings, slums and drains, his photographs show the contrast between the dull and boring new age and the bright and smiling old era. The artist had an impressive way of bringing out his point by exhibiting a set of colour photographs among collections of black and white pictures. It shows how the people and cultures of traditional India are more soulful and attractive even when the depiction is without colour.

‘Life and Bridge’ is a collection of images of life around the Howrah bridge. The artist, Rajib De, says that Howrah, a part of Kolkata’s identity, has lost the significance that it once had. But life around the bridge has not changed much from when it was built, whether it is the early morning poojas or the vendors at the riverside. In the words of the artist, “One cannot appreciate the marvel of engineering, which is the Howrah Bridge, unless you meet the people around it.”

Mahesh Shantaram’s collection was titled ‘Bangalore / Steady State 2012’. This is a collection of photographs of places in Bengaluru that usually go unnoticed. There was a photo of a dump yard consisting of broken rides inside Cubbon Park. The photograph is so colourful and it also reminds you of the happy times that the rides would have been part of. The best of Shantaram’s collection is the empty football field, right in the centre of a busy city. The photograph shows the stark contrast between the two worlds, with the towering Symphony building in the background and the calm, quiet and green football field right in front.

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