Beyond The Village Pond

Beyond The Village Pond


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About The Event



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.



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