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Gallerie Ganesha presents 'Paradise Regained' a solo painting exhibition by Alok Uniyal.
Alok Uniyal Recreates the beauty of Kashmir on his canvas.
‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ is a statement that is especially true for Kashmir.
Inspired by Kashmir, the show has 20 paintings in acrylics on canvas, each panoramic work defining the state’s breathtaking natural beauty, its culture and eternal romance. This is not the first time, however, that the 43-year-old Uniyal has brought a city’s diverse landscape alive on his canvas. In previous art outings, he has created series of paintings around Kolkata (2007), Goa (2008) and even Delhi (2010), and Kashmir is another series that showcases his love for painting mainly the positive aspects of Indian cities.
Says the artist about his current body of work: “I always visit a place and that inspires me to paint my impressions of what I observe. I travelled to Kashmir last year in October, and despite the fact that the state has faced such turmoil, somehow it still retains its mesmerising natural beauty and charm. Why would I then want to paint harsh realities that we read about anyway in papers everyday. I paint so that people find joy and pleasure out of life, there is no negativity in my works, only a sense of introspection coupled with the hope for a brighter, better future.”
Hence, one can find every aspect of Kashmiri life, vibrant and colourful as it is, in Uniyal’s work. Floating market of the Dal Lake, a honeymooning couple in an endearing embrace, women in their local dress (phirans), the musical instrument of Rubab, the omnipresent hukka – all find their place on Uniyal’s canvas.
Symbols of love and romance, beauty and serenity are all painted in a riot of colours of reds, blues, and especially greens which Uniyal admits is his favourite colour. “Green is a colour of hope, prosperity.” The flat surface of his acrylics, with vast open background painted in a single colour, do justice to bring out the soft luminosity of his figures as they rejoice amidst the natural beauty of the state.
And yet, as Uniyal points out, his works are not just about ‘beautification” of the theme. “Look closely and you will see that the women on the floating boats or shikaras on the Dal lake are quiet and seem to be introspecting. Are they hoping for a better future? The use of one dominant colour in the background creates this mystery, this element of thoughtfulness. My message is that even if the waters of the lake are becoming shallower by the day and polluted – as a symbol of the entire state’s situation – we have hope yet. There will always be hope.”
The works also reflect elements of Indian traditional art – like miniature paintings and terracotta art – especially as Uniyal belongs to Uttaranchal.