Artist Observed – Aya Mouri

India Habitat Centre in association with the University of Kent organized a two day workshop on ‘Contemporary Visual Arts Writing & Criticism’—conceived by Dr Alka Pande, India’s preeminent art critic; lead by Dr Grant Pooke, FRSA; and curated by Angus Pryor, Director, School of Arts, Medway.

As an assignment for the seminar, I wrote the following note about Aya Mouri, one of the artists featured in the accompanying exhibition ‘Critical Narratives in Colour and Form:’

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Rhythm of Moscow – by the Jazz Band Impact Fuze

This article was published in Russia and India Report – a news project of Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 

PC: Impact Fuze

Russia and Jazz is an unusual association. Expressing the pulse of the Russian capital through Jazz is even more so. That is how the band, Impact Fuze debuted and it was quite an impact they made with their fusion of jazz and rock. They are a power trio comprising of Russians Anton Davidyants (the bassist) and Feodor Dosumov (the guitarist) who is originally from Uzbekistan, and French Damien Schmitt (the drummer.)

Recently a popular radio jockey from New Delhi, Sarthak Kaushik discovered their music for his jazz special show. Sarthak, who is a veteran of the national channel, All India Radio’s western music broadcast, was impressed by the trio’s dexterity – “They are a fantastic band with an amazing understanding of music. Their play is highly nuanced. Feodor’s guitar play is particularly fascinating. Together they create very powerful music.” His response is just as the band envisions – ‘incorporating the energy, power and brutality of rock into the intelligence of jazz.’

The album ‘Moscow’ showcases their capacity for variety. “There are up-tempo tracks like Moscow and Punisher as well as mellower ones like Song for Elena and Lost in Found,” Sarthak observes, “they’ve straddled an entire progression.”

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An introduction to paintings by Ritu Mehra

I wrote this introduction for the debut exhibition of Ritu Mehra.

All creative journeys begin with an exploration of the self and the surrounding. The artist perceives the given anew, with a childlike fancy and a discoverer’s enquiry. When unbridled by blinds of social conditioning, the neighbourhood becomes a treasure of inspiration. Realizing such a level of awareness can be rewarding as well as overwhelming. Patiently following a method through the magical madness, Ritu has emerged along this path.

Ritu Mehra has evolved a tool to plot her imagination. She gives herself a variable surface akin to a sandy riverbed or a mossy growth and improvises thereon adding elements and responding to nothing but the demands of her canvas. Her subjects take shape with softness of stanzas extracted from a poem, unscathed by the pangs of anxiety that the artist endures through the process. Like an adventurous alchemist she let’s varying ingredients simmer and become a whole represented in unified and often muted colours. Preoccupied in this lab within herself she delineates the brewing interactions of muses and mediums.

Her engineering mind takes off from a fresh frame of reference every time and playfully indulges in all that could apparate on her canvas and take it anywhere. Where this approach will go from here, there doesn’t seem to be a limit.



I wrote this introduction for an exhibition of paintings by Vikram Nayak:

Search for a key to understand Vikram’s works leads me into the labyrinthine realm of creative activity. I am met with a multitude of realizations that pose as many questions. The scene becomes as intricate as the paintings themselves. The laboriously rendered layers create an impression of infinite depth and flaunt artist’s incisive vision, dexterity, and patience. Each canvas suggests that there is more to it. Its gravity keeps drawing the artist deeper. This relation is saved from becoming a black hole because he always manages to bungee out into the tangible world.

Vikram engages with life as an active participant; as a performing artist, an activist, and above all as any other social animal. He is willing to go beyond the known limits of his self, never denying any possibilities. There is a scope for risk even in his most carefully planned strokes. It occurs as an element of red in many of his works, representing youthful vigour and fearlessness that contains the power to change everything—for better or for worse. It is this inquisitiveness that helps him perceive his environment and render it anew on his canvas. And he does it with such lucidity as if life was so easy to understand and articulate.

Such a creative process happens within the permeable periphery of self and the artist becomes the subject as well as the object. Mindfulness enables the artist. The degree of self-realization determines the quality which makes art and distinguishes it as valuable. It takes perseverance and discipline –the traits that have put Vikram in this continuum of exploration and refinement.

Never Mind!

रात को नींद आती नहीं और सुबह खुलती नहीं
आज भी late, boss कलसेगा
Full speed पे car भगाऊँ मगर
Road पे traffic ki bharmaar hai
की भरमार है
आजु-बाजू वाला हर driverबेकार है
Just chill!
Never mind कर दे!

Office में काम कम और meeting ज़्यादा करते हैं
Deadline तक project कैसे बनेगा?
Quality का standard और गिरेगा, हर कोई गैर ज़िम्मेदार है
Mood होगा तो चाय पीला देगा, peon ही यहां का सरकार है
सोच मत, बस
Never Mind ही kar de!

Coffee-सुट्टा break में office gossips,
Who was caught with whom locking lips
दूसरों के फटे में झांकना ही इनका कारोबार है
Office politics main koodne ko har koi tayaar hai
Forget it!
इसे भी Never mind कर दे!

घर के काम निपटाने का वक़्त जाने कब मिलेगा
Credit card, phone, internet, सब के bills pending हैं
“फुर्सत तो होती नहीं तुम्हें,” Family के शिकवे बेशुमार हैं
कैसे समझाऊं, life मैं पंगे हज़ार हैं
क्या करैं!
*sigh* Never mind कर दे!

Murder, Scam, Terrorism, Mishaps
News सुनकर mood off होगया
साला हर नेता गद्दार है
पूरा system ही बेकार है
On second thoughts…
What can I do?
इसे भी Never mind कर दे!

लोग जैसे दीखते हैं वैसे होते नहीं
फिरसे चूना लग गया!
किसी की फितरत का क्या भरोसा
हर कोई धोखे-बाजी में कलाकार है
उसने भी झूठ बोला कि उसे मुझसे प्यार है
सब बकवास है
एकदम Never mind कर दे!

चैन की सांस का scope नहीं है
जब देखो दिमाग में कोई-ना-कोई tension
Basically, crib करना सबका जन्म-सिद्ध अधिकार है
लेकिन ऐसे ख़ून जलाना, यूँ ही भेजा पकाना, बिल्कुल बेकार है
छोड़ यार
Never mind कर दे!