Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Few days back I saw many snails that had been awakened by the first rains. All moving dreamily making way to their respective single leafed territories, crisscrossing one another, leaving behind silver trails and gently bowing and touching each other with their fleshy antennae, as if following some snail etiquettes. The more polite ones, stopping completely, withdrawing themselves and moving only when the other snail had moved away, sometimes even over them. Being much higher I could see the whole of this newly revealed snail-city with leaves, glass bottles, flies, plants, trees, grass, water puddles and snails, all maneuvering around this moist geography for food and water. The shelter was not a problem, as all were well equipped with huge spirals (made out of some mathematical golden triangles as observed by many important mathematicians), where calcium met tissue, stone and organism fused together to give rise to soft green snail living in an exquisitely designed shell with autobiographical patterns that told stories of changing weather patterns, water availability and snail moods; everyday carefully recorded as a single line of calcium deposit. The dead shells were usually inherited by a very needful crab, insect, fish or a kid. Some more determined ones stayed buried among the sediments, so as to leave behind an imprint of their magnificent fast paced life for a distant future to rediscover their ghosts in coal.

Monday, June 25, 2007


new construction in Khotachiwaadi



Ranjit usually plans his image, patiently drawing and redrawing smaller details of floating muscled bodies, alien landscapes and aging faces. Carefully selecting an idea of the visual, as if cautiously selecting his language and its words that will float in a landscape of distant remoteness. He likes the act of painting, mixing colours, diluting them with water and applying dabs of olive greens, dark reds, greys and browns with patience, meticulously one stroke at a time, he loves painting ‘real’, getting the wood right or showing age of something that has stood the tests of time, with wrinkled faces, chipped plaster, cracked bones, rusting iron and mottled walls. With his strange ideas of layering he tends to build the image up through thin translucent watery layers of paint that get overlapped one over the other, each layer adding a newer detail till the shimmering sunlight in a house galli or concrete angel bracket detail starts looking more real than real itself.
My attempts at getting myself to plan an image have usually resulted in planned failures. I draw and paint at the same time, instinctively deciding colours and technique sometimes even influenced by colour tubes that are within my arms reach. During the course of development most of my images look like colorful studio accidents, but in due course of time I manage to make an image that tries to communicate what we set out to do. I love painting details; I like to divide my canvas into smaller canvas and then each of those into smaller canvases to show a local market, or a heritage police chowki, a pattern of tiles on wall or a cement mixing truck far away. Being lazy to plan and ignorant about the final image I usually have an advantage of evolving the image based on instinctive concerns or even my mood that day, and the painting grows partly based on me and partly itself as if the image has equivalent control over me.

Khotachiwaadi image is a result of collaboration between Ranjit and me. Ranjit has done the Null bazaar buildings on either side that form the housegalli. Through the slit one catches a glimpse of Khotachiwaadi that has been drawn and painted by me. Two distinctly different conditions within the city get represented through our different methods of drawing and painting with Khotachiwaadi being framed by the Null Bazaar housegalli. As Ranjit works at a more zoomed out level, whereas I draw smaller details the painting requires almost two foci to see it, where the observer can focus either on the housegalli or on Khotachiwaadi.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

First exhibition painting
Me, Ranjit and Pottu have got an opportunity to do a painting and exhibit it at the Project 88 art gallery in Colaba somewhere around Oct-Nov, thanks to Subbu who happened to hear about our work from Paul. We have started conceptualizing and articulating the nature, content of the image and a methodology of collaboration. As three of us collaborate and work on a single canvas the method of collaboration becomes most important part of the decision, as that dominates the image that will emerge in the end. The method decided for this image has worked out well for the multiple city imaginations that we want to talk about as well as the act of collaboration on a single canvas, being ‘tolerant’ of the other individual. Presently keeping all fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Boy in balcony

The image intends to put the observer within one of the inner city buildings, in a twilight zone, nor out on the street from where you can see the building and not even within one of the houses but somewhere in between, where the no mans land exists or should i say everyone's land. The place where multiple narratives unfold as they co exist in their respective corners, with the building allowing, absorbing and accommodating a range of activities.

The water pumps in lower left hand side corner are peculiar to Null Bazaar where each family has installed its own pump that directly gets connected to the main line which receives water during certain times of the day. As most buildings have turned into a collage of material, activities and spaces services envelope the building and spread in different directions like the water supply pipes that travel within the painting to create spaces. The building internally get figured out such that tolerance and acknowledgement of multiplicity allows people, plants, rats and lizards to coexist each having their own world and role to play within the building.