Seven artists, 7 themes, and a world of inspiration come together to illustrate the times we live in. Art has and always will be the teller and sign of our times. Whether through cheeky humour, or tactile interventions, the world around us can be framed into a 4X4 painting or a larger-than-life sculpture.
Le Mill and Viraj Mithani joined forces to scan our surroundings to pick emerging and established artists, across the length and breadth of our country, who punctuate how art instructs and depicts society. From themes of ‘Industry and Invention’ to ‘Identity’ and ‘Social Change’, read on for Viraj Mithani X Le Mill’s art edit, PART II.
Artwork by Roshan Chhabria
The drawings and paintings challenge and question norms. Roshan’s work really comes alive with the element of humour. The wittiness and minute observations of behaviours; picking up on it and depicting it to create a sense of drama. The works are quintessentially based on observation of day to day mundane life of the Indian middle-class people and domestic situations and its aspirations. Also popular culture, consumerism, stereotypes, and kitsch has also been an integral part of his practice.
The Baroda-based and educated artist has shown his works across Antwerp, Belgium, Hungary, London and Dubai, as well as galleries all across India.
Fantasy and Mythology
Artwork by Gurjeet Singh
I first discovered Chandigarh-based Gurjeet Singh’s work last year during lockdown via a campaign we ran, he was part of Carpe Arte Supports. His interest in storytelling and narratives through textile and fiber art with bookmaking and sculptures is very compelling and unique to his practice. His characters inspired by his personal anecdotes, start to take shape into his own fantastical world and subconsciously resemble and borrow visual language from known mythological characters. There is a strong connection between the two worlds.
He describes his practice, “I got introduced to the art through my family as they always engrossed in decorating the house, stitching and doing embroidery and more such activities. I gained interest in the fine arts after learning a variety of things from ladies in my home along with my father who deals in scooter spare parts (repairing) which helped me to understand the machines. I am working primarily in sculptures, painting, drawings and Installations. My work addresses LGBTQ and stories happenings behind the closed doors. I want to share these hidden stories with the society.”
Industry and Invention
Artwork by Ritesh Meshram
Mumbai-based Ritesh Meshram’s work creates a dialogue between existing ideas of the material with its future transformative state. Deepika Sorabjee, xx, states, “In his assemblages, the found objects as starting points are put together, arranged, deranged or added on to make a composite whole. This play of material, one against the other, that Meshram deploys repeatedly in his practice, is indicative of how strongly the materialness of the object matters. The narrative maybe a subliminal informant to the work, but it is the materiality that is the driving force and often leads narration into abstraction.”
Meshram states that his exploration through his metal work is to draw a similarity in the tools of the labourers that has helped him with work. There is such an aesthetic in these tools – whether it is the design, the sound they make, or their form. For him to create a new aesthetic with the already existing forms was something that inspired his process of his own work.
About Viraj Mithani
Viraj Mithani is a contemporary artist. His practice floats between painting and printmaking. Native of Mumbai, India, he began with a traditional background in the arts. He graduated with a B.F.A in Painting and Printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015). He also holds a diploma degree in Studio Art and Visual Communications from Chelsea Camberwell Wimbledon College of Art and Design (CCW) of University of Arts London (2012).
His solo exhibitions include: Eastern Affair (Ravi Vazirani Design Studio, Mumbai, 2018), Politics of Color (The Quorum in Gurgaon, 2018), Decalcomania Fractal at Clark House Initiative (2017) and Paper to Plastic (Spudnik Press Cooperative in Chicago, 2017). Selected Group shows: Kagaz at 079 Stories in Ahmedabad (2021), Making Space at Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai (2019), Illinois State Museum, Lockport, IL (2018), Dalarnas Museum Falun in Sweden.
Mithani has been selected and invited to be Artist-in-Residence at Spudnik Press Co-operative in Chicago (Fellowship 2016), Vermont Studio Center in Jhonson, VT (Merit Scholarship Recipient, 2015) and Space 118 in Mumbai (2017). He’s a founding member of Carpe Arte group (2017) and founder of Carpe Arte Supports (2020-21). He currently lives and practices in Mumbai