Muzaffar Ali inaugurates Poonam Bhatnagar’s art exhibition in Delhi

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Shiva as Nataraja, Krishna as Vishwaroopa, a bustling Oxford Street in London, a pensive portrait of yesteryear’s heroine Suchitra Sen, are part of the 24 canvases of Poonam Bhatnagar’s show ‘Between Dreams’ that was inaugurated by well-known filmmaker Muzaffar Ali here.

Muzaffar Ali, an artist himself and author besides being a Bollywood director, inaugurated the exhibition at Bikaner House on Friday evening. The exhibition has been curated by noted art historian and scholar Uma Nair.

Speaking on the occasion, Ali said that Poonam Bhatnagar’s works are replete with “intricate shades”. “It is very, very other-worldly. We are dealing with an artist who feels things beyond what we can see in the normal way, and is very articulate.”

The ‘Gaman’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’ director had come to the capital specially for the inauguration of the show, said Uma Nair.

The exhibition, on view at Kalamkaar, on the first floor of Bikaner House, is open to the public from 11 am to 7 pm. It has been organised by Masha Art Gallery.

The 24 acrylic-on-canvas works are segmented into five: ‘Mythos’, ‘Cityscapes’, the ‘Vriksha’ series, ‘Portraits Old and New’, and ‘Shunya’.

Speaking on the occasion, Uma Nair said she told Poonam Bhatnagar to do a series on mythology.

“In the Mythos series, you will see that Poonam Bhatnagar has treated the works not just with form but she tells us that there is an illusion. She creates layers of illusion with her works,” she said, adding that Poonam began this technique “with inspiration from the web of a spider”.

She said that many of the canvasses were created by Poonam between January and April 3, with her putting in 15-17 hours of work daily. “The beauty of an artist is when they can paint 15-17 hours and forget about the world, and that is what she does,” she added.

Later, Muzaffar Ali and Uma Nair, along with Suninder Dhir of fashion house Divani, and the artist and her family, lighted the lamp. A special catalogue brought out on the paintings were also presented to the dignitaries.

The canvasses on show are large ones, like the painting of Saraswati playing the veena. It measures 6x4 feet, while the painting of ‘Oxford Street’ measures 5 x 7.75 feet.

The artist has used a special painting technique inspired from a spider’s web to create fine raised lines in her canvasses, which along with the geometric lines and squares, and intermingling waves, create a surreal effect.

The section, ‘Pensive Portrait’ features striking portraits of yesteryear heroines Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Suchitra Sen and Madhabi Mukherjee, done mostly in black and white,

Masha Art CEO Samarth Mathur said that the exhibition showcases Poonam Bhatnagar’s “meticulously crafted artworks that seamlessly blend imagined realms with tangible landscapes and captivating portraits”. Masha has its flagship Gallery in the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi.

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