Saturday, February 27, 2010

Love in the Air - Karachi

Love in the Air - Metaphors of love

Text and photos by Ameer H Ahmad

KARACHI: Nepali artist Ragini Upadhyay Grela is in Karachi once again for her solo exhibition at the Galleria 919 titled “Love in the Air”, the realisation of which has been with her since 2008.

Thanking the 21st century technological advancements, which have reduced distances between loved ones, she said she could feel the love in the air, wherever she looked.

She said the widespread use of computers and mobile phones has made communicating easier with the person you love, as it reduces distances not just between lovers, but also between families and friends.

In this series of works, she celebrates both technology and lovers together, combining elements like computers, mobile phones and keyboards with half-animal and half-human figures.

Figures fly across famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China; and physical distances and cultural divides melt away as these figures communicate their love through the air.

She has replaced some of the traditional attributes of Hindu Goddesses such as Laxmi or Sarwasti with the modern tools of knowledge and financial power.

Lotus, clubs, bows are turned into mobile phones and computers.

In some of her works, she has used the traditional Thanka painting technique with real gold and silver paint. Her work echoes with the works of Marc Chagall, a Russian-French artist, but hers is transcontinental and modern.

She combines references from the east and the west, an insight into which she gained during her studies in India, England and Germany, and through her extensive travels all over the world.

Grela draws inspiration from both secular and mythological sources, the latter from Hindu and Buddhist myths.

She is a symbolic artist and it is constantly visible in her work.

She has had more then 70 solo and group exhibitions in more then 23 countries.

She is a graduate of Fine Arts from Lucknow University and is a member of the Oxford Printmakers, and her first exhibition was held in 1979 in Nepal. Having been a visiting lecturer at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture; the Karachi School of Arts; and the School of Art and Design, Jamshoro, this is her third solo show in Karachi and she has had two solo exhibitions and one group exhibition in Pakistan.

The gallery will continue the exhibition of her paintings and prints until February 27.

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