Sujata Bajaj: Peregrination of Colour

Ambika Rajgopal of Saffronart announces the upcoming exhibition of Sujata Bajaj at Indigo Blue Art, Singapore.

London: The word ‘peregrination’ makes complete sense when seen in the context of Sujata Bajaj’s new series- Peregrination of Colour, showing at Indigo Blue Art Gallery, Singapore. A quick glance at a dictionary clarifies the meaning of the word, which means ‘to walk or travel over’. Bajaj infuses her canvas with colour in such a dynamic way, that the hues literally travel all over the canvas, leading the eye across its expanse.

Bajaj’s relationship with colours has seen a lot of different influences. Originally hailing from Rajasthan, where colours are the celebratory essence of day-to-day living, her life journey landed her to embrace diverse traditions. Bajaj graduated from SNDT College, Pune in Art and Painting, before going on to pursue a PhD in Indian tribal art, where the focus of her thesis was on tribal art and its influence on contemporary art. After completion of her doctorate, through the patronage of S. H. Raza, Bajaj was awarded a scholarship by the French government and attended the prestigious École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

From every step in her journey, Bajaj picked up aesthetic components so as to form a unique pastiche, where Occidental modernism fused with Indian visual language of tribal art.

…in the ochre yellow and red palette, we are recalled into the ritual circle of sacrifice; a hero-stone, a tribal totem, a lost goddess of fertility is suggested by certain motifs; and in the elegant calligraphy of the sacred texts, the hymns repeated until the pitch of perfection has been achieved.- Ranjit Hoskote

Though currently based in Paris, Bajaj amalgamates an underlying profound ethnicism into her art practice. From incorporating texts from Sanskrit documents like the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, to paying homage to the sacrosanctity of colours. Bajaj elaborates:

For me, red is everything. It has passion, it has violence, it has energy, it has love and aggression, it is the colour of divinity in India. Red is saffron; it is the colour of meditation. As a colour, it has so much power. In India, it is connected to marriage, because we wear red when we marry. Red carries all the meanings of life.

Ascent, 2005, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit:

Ascent, 2005, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit:

Perhaps this is why the colours occupy such a strong pivotal focus in her work. She offsets the colours with bold black lines intrepidly traversing the frame. Far from being meditative, Bajaj’s canvases pulsate with the energy of the vibrant hues she uses. At the same time, they are controlled by the deliberate strokes of the neutral blacks and whites.

Untitled, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit:

Untitled, Sujata Bajaj. Image Credit:

Bajaj will be present on the exhibition preview on 10 October, from 6.30 to 9 pm to sign copies of her coffee table book, L’Ordre du monde.

The show is on view from the 10th October till the 22nd November 2013. This will be Bajaj’s first solo exhibition in Singapore.

For more information, please access the gallery website.

Modern Indian Art at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York

Approaching Abstraction at the Rubin Museum of Art, New YorkManjari Sihare on the Rubin Museum’s Modern Indian Art Series

New York: The Rubin Museum of Art in New York is currently showcasing an exhibit of modern Indian art, with a focus on abstraction, featuring works by Zarina Hashmi, Tyeb Mehta, S.H. Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Krishna Reddy, Nasreen Mohamedi, Biren De, G.R. Santosh and Ram Kumar. Also on view are experimental films created by M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta and Akbar Padamsee in the late 1960s. Listen to a podcast of this exhibition, downloadable on iTunes. While many works in the exhibition have been culled from the private collection of the Rubin Museum founders, Shelley and Donald Rubin, the display also includes supplementary works on loan from various private and museum collections in the United States.

Approaching Abstraction (on view till October 16, 2012) is the second exhibit of the trilogy, Modernist Art in India, conceptualized by Beth Citron, the Assistant Curator at the Rubin Museum. The first exhibit in this series was based on figuration and the final one, Radical Terrain, centers on landscapes (November 9, 2012- April 2013). Citron holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where her specialization was Contemporary Art in Bombay, 1965-1995. Her next project at the Rubin Museum is an exhibition on the work of India’s first female photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla (1913-2012). This exhibition will be presented in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi. It will be on view at the Rubin from July 6, 2012 – January 14, 2013.

The museum website also carries an interactive timeline highlighting the historical events that helped shape art in India from 1857 to the 1990s. For a textual overview of this development, browse through our Art Guide.

These exhibitions with their specific focus on modern Indian art are the first of their kind to open in a New York museum. Previously cultural exchanges between India and Europe have been much more prevalent, but the US is fast catching up.

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