Celebrating the Elephant God

Galleries in the city celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi the way they know best through art.

Among Hindu deities, the elephant god Ganesha is most revered and loved, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise when you see art galleries flooded with works dedicated to him.

For artist Bala Bhakta Raju, devotion is not just limited to his name (Bhakta means devotion) but spills over into his art as well. The artist, who has been fascinated with Ganesha since childhood, has created over 4,000 drawings and paintings of the Elephant God. “Some of my earliest drawings were of Ganesha and after I started drawing the deity, I couldn’t stop,” he says.

Currently, 61 art-works of Ganesha are on display in the city’s four art galleries — the Salar Jung Museum, Kalakriti, Pegasus and State art galleries, and the gallery at Novotel.

Bhakta says, “You won’t find similarities between all the Ganeshas I have drawn so far. Some element or the other differs, either the colour scheme or the posture. The challenge here is to create something that is not found easily and that is tough, because Ganesha is one of the most famous Gods and his paintings and sculptures are available everywhere.”

Artist Om Swami’s work simply stands out. Be it his abstract paintings or the slokas that accompany his work, he makes sure that his work is very different.

“I have been portraying Ganesha for the last 13-14 years and I’ve created various versions of him. I make sure that my art is quite different because I create abstract versions of the deity always accompanied by slokas, that make the work unique,” explains Swami, whose five to six art-works are on display at Kalakriti Art Gallery.

The State Art Gallery has brought together 164 artists under one roof to bring out an eclectic mix of Ganesha. Dr K. Lakshmi, director of State Art Gallery says, “We asked all the 164 artists to send us one work each and they did exceedingly well. Each Ganesha is so distinct that there is hardly any similarity between the works. We have everything ranging from traditional to modern. For instance, Karnataka-based artist Veeranna painted a Ganesha with Olympic Medals.”
Padmaja Bhalerao, who has been painting Ganeshas since the last 20 years, has sent three works to a group art show that is on display at the Pegasus Art Gallery.

“My work has always seen a lot of detailing, but this time around, I wanted to break away from that so I created abstract works that are more free-flowing. I have used acrylic this time,” the artist explains.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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