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Vivid imagination of agrarian culture and modern state


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Centring on relationships between humans and nature, Lal Bahadur Singh’s paintings in the show titled Bahaar, on view at Delhi’s Gallery Nvya, are richly decorated with candour and wit celebrating the societal evolution from agrarian culture to a modernised state.

​This 36-year-old artist, belonging to Dhanauta village, in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh, picks up motifs from Gond and Madhubani, rendering these with a contemporary touch. 

Excerpts from an interview:

How and when did you decide to take up this particular art form?

Each art form is special and unique. I have always been a representational artist and being from a small village, I find the rural lifestyle, way of living to be simple, pure and endearing.

Tell us about your themes and what leads to the overall ideation?

My ideology is based on rural life, traditional Indian culture, the contribution of women in society with their hardworking attitude, be it their dedication to their office work and/or their family. I feel that the contribution of women is often not acknowledged enough hence I have always tried to bring it to the fore through my art. At the same time, my artwork describes the rudimental elements of nature and rural life, which are pictured as symbolic motifs like the frequently encountered stylised representations of cows, trees and birds marking a strong indigenous essence.

How has the pandemic affected indigenous artists?

Artists were lucky to get some isolated time to paint. Since there were less distractions, they had a lot of time to explore new ideas. Pandemic has affected every individual’s life. However, it gave the much-needed peace and time from regular life to come up with new ideas. But, at the same time the execution of those ideas became a bit difficult. The hardships that I had to face during the pandemic were the availability of raw materials, like canvas, colours, etc.

What are your future plans?

Keep working hard sincerely. Be devoted to my work. The sky is the limit for creativity and I’m truly grateful to my audience who is so receptive and encouraging towards my work. I wish to keep on experimenting and doing better work.

What are the steps that an indigenous artist can take for the advancement of his career?

Artists should not lose touch with their roots. They should study and research further, not to lose touch with their ethnicity, but to bring in a certain universality in their art. In my view, that is the way to go from strength to strength.

At: Gallery Nvya,101-103, Square one Designer Arcade C-2 District Center, Saket, New Delhi
Till: March 15

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)