Sale Date Ended
Shivdev Singh Pays A tribute to Punjab in his solo exhibition titled
Beyond The Village Pond @ Visual Arts Gallery; Sep 17-21
New Delhi: Los Angeles-based Dr Shivdev Singh is exhibiting twenty oil paintings in a show titled Beyond The Village Pond: Cultural Reflections of Punjab, curatedby eminent art historian Dr Alka Pande, at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from September 17 till September 21, 2015, 10 .m. to 7 p.m. Phone: 011-43662025. A book by the same title, of images of paintings along with descriptive text on folk culture of Punjab, will also be released on the occasion.
Even though Singh has lived in the US for over four decades now, every painting in his show is a tribute to the people and the culture of his beloved Punjab. “My father was a surgeon in the Indian army and I wanted to be like him, but I had always doodled and sketched right from my childhood,” says 79-year-old Singh, who studied medicine at Government Medical College, Patiala. “In fact, even as a medical student, I continued to sketch.” Many of the sketches of long bones in the Anatomy Museumat Medical College, Patiala have been done by Singh.
Singh continued to paint all through his medical career but concedes that being a full time pediatric surgeon and an artist wasn’t easy. “After a long thought, I retired from surgery to pursue art full time and spent four years in the College Arts department at Lancaster, California. I subsequently trained at Art Institute of California and painted live models.”
Says curator Dr Alka Pande, “A recurring leitmotif in Singh’s art has been his complete absorption with the cultural tropes of Punjab. Be it the folk songs, the folk rituals, the traditional landscape which he paints time and again. As with a lot of diaspora, memory, nostalgia, identity politics become repeated metaphors in the creative expression of their medium. Beyond the Village Pond is a culmination of his long term engagement with his own Punjabiat. He has put together a lovely book, which has a collection of some unusual folk songs, which find a doppelganger image in the lyrical renditions in the paintings he has been creating over the last many years. The range of mediums, from charcoal drawings, watercolours to oil on canvas comes easily to him. His meticulously etched charcoals capture the folk performer and the musical instruments of Punjab with an unerring eyes. The portraits of oil on canvas are a delight to those who still hanker for the traditional style of oil paintings, while my personal favourites are the poetic watercolours. Layer upon layer of meticulously applied watercolours are done in a deeply meditative way bringing a soulful yearning of the memory of a lush verdant Punjabi hinterland which still stays in his mind.”
Take for instance, oils titled At The Edge of The Field and Buffalos in the Pond. These depict common scenes in Punjab villages and Singh imbues his paintings with a deep sense of nostalgia. In an oil painting titled Midday Break, women take a break from their hard toil in the fields and Singh adds a sense of open landscapes, typical of Punjab countryside. Women in their beautiful Phulkari dresses and exquisite bridal jewelry find place in Singh’s paintings as well. Traditional events like Giddha, Jaago, wrestling matches and village fair are brought to life in Singh’s colourful and skilful depiction of the Punjabi way of life.