Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ragini's World by media for freedom

By: media for freedom

Posted on: 2/23/2009

Ragini's World


The world of artist and poet is unlimited. If someone has imagination and vision, they can catch it. But, translating the whole thinking in the canvas requires the vision, tranquility in mind as well as capability.

This is what one can see in the solo art exhibition Love in The Air of renowned artist Ragini Upadhyay Grela. Inaugurated by EU Charge d' affairs Dr. Alexander Spachis, the exhibition which is currently going on in Siddhartha Art Gallery in Babar Mahal, the exhibition is creative as well as full of perception of artist Upadhyay.

Artist Upadhayay's art works speak well about her well-heeded journey to the world that enjoys and appreciates the modern communication and wired to the world. In her arts, many well known monuments of the world appear in her paintings. Whether it is Eiffle Tower of France or Taj Mahal of India and the historical and culturally importance monuments of Nepal, one can see them in her paintings.

As usual, artist Upadhyay's paintings have also some political smell as she painted the present political alliance flying in the sky with all modern amenities. She sees Prachanda, Girija Prasad Koirala, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Upendra Yadav on her paintings. Produced in 2008, Ragini's paintings are full of meanings and imaginations. Her experiments with the modern technology and traditional ways with respect to historical monuments are remarkable.

"Many international monuments make their appearances as a cultural reference of her travel," said Sangita Thapa, Curator of Siddhartha Art Gallery. "The physical distance and cultural divide between countries melt away and are seen as inconsequential as Ragini skilfully places the monuments and iconography from her own country to the same canvas."

In this exhibition, artist Upadhyay gives supreme importance to the modern equipments of communication, even the goddess Laxmi and Saraswati now wield modern means of communication. "Very often, she portrays the female form as avenging goddesses or enlightened being to make satirical comments on failings of politics and politicians," said Thapa.

After looking at the paintings of artist Ragini, one can see the influence of her recent visit to Europe. The magic of modern communication network and their powerful presence are reflected on her paintings.

"It is strongly inspired by my recent trip to Europe which have marked my mind with places and communication habits," said artist Upadhyay. "The omnipresence of computers, mobile phones, PDA is for me a great opportunity. There is magic in the air which makes full of messages and vibrant. The reference to famous landmarks such as Taj Mahal, Eiffel tower or the Statue of Liberty expresses my perception of the global culture, global village and global background for love. I have also replaced some of attributes of traditional forms of goddesses," said the artist.

Ragini has proved herself different than other artists in this exhibition. She displayed her creation full of imagination and the perfection of elaborating them in canvas. As it is said, an artist does not belong to any country as they see the entire world as their home. Ragini displayed that her imagination ranged from local cultural monuments as well as world's renowned monuments with the perfect combination when they are linked by the modern means of communications.

Selections of colors combined with her paintings make them lively. "I studied in Germany and UK and travelled all over Europe and I married a Belgian man. As a Nepali, I enjoy my life in Nepal," she said. The Exhibition will continue till March 8.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Love in the Air opens at Siddartha Gallery on Sunday 8th February 2009 at 5:30 pm

Dr. Alexander SPACHIS
Minister - Counsellor, Charge d'affaires a.i, European Union
has kindly consented to open the exhibition
on Sunday 8th February 2009 at 5:30 pm

Click here to watch the whole series

The opening had to face an usual power outage and visitors enjoyed the works at candle light.

Click here to see the articles published in Nepal

Friday, February 6, 2009

Even cowgirls get the blues - by BHUSHITA VASISTHA in

“Love is in the air
In the whisper of the tree
And I don´t know if I´m just dreaming”

When Australian singer John Paul Young wrote these famous words in 1978, it had been just five years since the first cell phone (Motorola Dyna-Tacthe) hit the market, and SMS was still to be discovered. Naturally, it felt as if he was “dreaming” to feel “love in the air”.
In 2007, twenty-nine years after the song was released, Nepali artist Ragini Upadhyay Grela felt she wasn’t just dreaming, thanks to her mobile phone and its SMS function in particular, to feel love in the air.

“It was during my stay in Vienna when I realized how air has become the carrier of love,” the artist said, explaining the muse behind her forty-ninth solo exhibition - “Love in the Air”. The show will kick off from Saturday at Siddhartha Art Gallery, Babar Mahal.
“I was staying with a woman who was in love, and she used the text message to express it to her beloved. Suddenly, for me, it wasn’t the same air I had been breathing all my life. It was so special, it was love!”

The exhibition has fifty-three art works, mostly mixed media. In this series, she has celebrated both information technology and lovers together. The half-animal, half-human figures, idiosyncratic of Ragini’s work, fly across the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and Ghanta Ghar with messages of love popping through her cell phones and computers.
She said the exhibition is a welcome to Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner.

As usual, some of her art gives strong political commentaries. For instance, in one satiric picture, she makes fun of five major political leaders of Nepal, who are trying to light the whole country with a small candle.

“Really, it is weird to see their response to recent power cuts. Information technology has worked miracles in the world, while in Nepal we’re still struggling to have our room lit with electric bulbs." she lamented.

A graduate of Fine Arts from Lucknow University, Upadhyay grew up in a small village in Ramnagar, a border town on the Indian side. As a farmer her father’s biggest dream for his daughter was to be a graduate, it didn’t matter in which subject.

So, she was sent to Allahabad, India, to pursue her studies. But for Ragini there was something in academics which didn’t click at all. “Slowly my parents weren’t surprised to learn I flunked my subjects,” she smiled, sighed, and smiled again.

After completing her high school level studies, Ragini knew if there was anything she could graduate in, it was art. “You wouldn’t believe it, I couldn’t copy good hand-writing but could emulate every other face I saw.”

“It was very difficult to study art then. My mother showed a thousand and one reasons not to study it.” She added, “But I had made up my mind. I told her if I couldn’t study art, she had better start looking for a suitor.”

Upadhyay had her first exhibition in 1979 and never looked back, although financially the days weren’t as easy. “As an artist, I was always paid in terms of my satisfaction. However, we need to cultivate an aesthetic culture in Nepal as well.”

“For instance, people live in a house worth millions and hang a poster of Bangkok.”

In her experience, the rapidity with which Indian society is catching up with art is a lesson for Nepal. During artist’s stay in Gadhi Art Village at India in 1984, there was an extremely talented senior artist named Himmat Shah. But Shah was so poor he couldn’t pay the nominal rent charge for his studio, let alone pay to have two good meals a day. “But now, within some decades, Shah has become a big-shot artist in India, while his contemporary Nepali artists are still having hand-to-mouth problems.”
Published on 2009-02-06 21:31:00