Roshan Chabbria, Digbijayee Khatua, Lokesh Khodke and Diptej Vernekar’s works have been on display at Mumbai’s Priyasri Art Gallery at an exhibition titled Hinge. The exhibition, which will go on till January 6, was curated by Shruti Ramlingaiah. “Hinge came to me as an idea…as a pivot, as something that has an element of oscillation, that turns around in time and space, the to-and-fro and back-and-forth of things,” says Shruti.
Priyasri Patodia—owner of Priyasri art gallery—and Shruti (curator) first started working with Baroda-based Roshan. “He was the one we had in mind," says Shruti. She later brought along the other three artists—Digbijayee Khatua, Lokesh Khodke and Diptej Vernekar.
While all the four are diverse in terms of their practice and approach, the preferred medium remains common. “For instance, a lot of their works are on paper,” says Shruti.
“Roshan’s works throw light on the middle-class family structure, their beliefs and mindset,” says Shruti. One look at Roshan’s installations and drawings, and you can see that for yourself. Roshan makes use of everyday, banal objects such as boots, shoe polish brush, tar and sadra (shirt) . There is also a great deal of black in his work. “There is the shani, or the inauspiciousness associated with the black crow, and the connection with the shraddh. Roshan pulls out all these black elements from life,” says Shruti. It is impossible to miss the humour in Roshan’s work.
Delhi-based Lokesh has been busy and his work comprises mostly illustrations and web comics. Besides documenting voices in his family of women, who tell the story of being possessed by goddesses and being completely taken over by them, there is also a great deal of myth that he makes use of in his work as he puts dialogues in his characters’ mouths. He oscillates between the past and the present, going from depicting an age-old sage to a young teenage boy seated with his computer, tantalising the viewer’s senses by urging them to go back and forth in time, almost in disbelief. “It’s how contemporary could be incorporated into the past,” explains Shruti.
Lokesh’s other work is titled Wind, and has a completely different dimension to it. He painted a mountain in different colours, in different elements, “a mountain where one might find it serene, but at the same time, in that very silence, there is this tension that keeps hovering,” says Shruti. Hence, the different colours.
Goa-based Diptej’s work seems a bit abstract, but he handles the medium of charcoal with great aplomb. His work has ‘erasures’, which Shruti explains as “Erasures of something which he is trying to speak of, the stories that he is trying to build from bits and pieces of his memory or maybe from something that he observes.”
One look at Delhi-based Digbijayee’s work and you will see that his renderings are done meticulously and painstakingly, and are greatly inspired by the miniatures and the traditional patta. Digvijay, who works with pencil and water colours, deals with themes depicting how the urban cities have been seized or taken over by the industries. These varied images are often very close to each other, in an attempt to create a sort of unease and perhaps even disharmony.
So, while Roshan uses a liberal sprinkling of humour in his work, Lokesh toys with language, bringing in doses of fable and interweaves it with the contemporary. Diptej's “erasing of charcoal on paper” is rather interesting as it speaks to you, unraveling new, untold stories. Digbijayee’s work captures society in its varied avatars and the influence of miniature paintings makes it a much more immersive experience.