Art exhibition explores nuances of colour blue

BR Ambedkar’s famous power suit, peacock’s feathers, Lord Shiva’s throat or the less prominent fourth hue of the Indian flag, an ongoing exhibition at the DAG here examines the history of the colour blue in the country prompted by its seemingly universal value.

The exhibition, titled “Indian Blue”, showcases a range of artistic practices from the realistic to the abstract, from landscapes and portraits to history paintings and figurative narrations, across an equally astonishing range of mediums — oils, watercolours, acrylics, print, sculpture — and periods.

“Even though all art deals with colour, we have never before examined a colour individually. Through ‘Indian Blue’, we discover that colour plays a central role in our lives, and the artists chosen for this exhibition establish our relationship with it in different ways. I hope this will be the start of a discovery of different colours and their hierarchies in an artist’s palette,” Ashish Anand, CEO and MD, DAG.

It features artworks of over 90 eminent artists including the likes of FN Souza, MF Husain, SH Raza, Himmat Shah, Prabhakar Barwe and Satish Gujral, Nandalal Bose, Sunayani Devi, Jogen Chowdhury, Abanindranath Tagore, Ganesh Pyne, Ramkinkar Baij and the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich who made his home in India.

“Among the most charming works in the selection is a group or family portrait by an unknown artist that depicts a group of five women of varying ages in their gara sarees seated as though posing for a photograph with a group of four children. Two of the women hold a walking stick and a diary or spectacle case. The painting draws interesting parallels with the development of photography and how it influenced portrait painting in India,” said the organisers in a statement.

However, the greatest surprise of the exhibition is a painting by artist Jamini Roy — a tempera abstract that seems to consist almost entirely of a textured blue mottled with red and a few diagonal lines — a rare work of the kind almost never before seen from the master’s oeuvre, it added.

The exhibition, underway at The Claridges, will come to a close on December 1.