(Saju Nair - Dubai) The art market is gaining momentum after a considerable slowdown in physical events ever since the pandemic changed the world as we know it. Having vaccinated more than 70% of the population, the events have restarted with strict rules and regulations to protect the citizens and residents of the nation while simultaneously allowing them to restart social interactions. Art exhibitions are now curated by various galleries in UAE and one such exhibition was opened to the public on 29th July 2021 at the Artist Playground, Pullman Creek Hotel, Deira City Center. The title of the exhibition goes in line with the vision of the leaders of this great nation, the leaders always ensure that the rich heritage of the nation is not lost in an era of technology and development. They continue to rapidly progress as one of the most technologically advanced regions whilst also preserving the cultural essence of the country. The presence of 200 plus nationalities makes UAE a cultural hub and in that, a large percentage of the Indian population have made UAE their second home and this has prompted the renowned curator and founder of artforumuae, Mr. Peter Gressmann to give life to an event that portrays the tradition and the modern aspects of Indian art.

'artforumuae' was founded by Mr. Peter Gressmann in 2008 and over the years, thousands of members from across the globe have joined this platform. 'artforumuae' is a social media platform that allows its members to share their creations and to discuss and debate on the technicalities and various factors in art. Constructive and healthy debates often encourage artists to enhance their skills and knowledge in art and art related affairs. The active participation of elite members in this group plays a vital role in molding an artist to the best of their abilities. Mr. Peter Gressmann has selected 7 artists who are also the elite members of artforumuae to take part in the art exhibition titled 'Tradition meets Modernity - Indian art through ages.' More than 41 splendid artworks ornamented the walls of Pullman Creek Hotel while each artwork narrates a different story and it will surely guide the visitors through the tale of traditional Indian folk art and the modern side of the same subject.

The art exhibition titled 'Tradition meets Modernity - Indian art through ages' is a perfect tribute to the art fraternity as this event is not simply limited to an exhibition, instead, it also spreads knowledge about the various forms of Indian art. When Mr. Peter was asked about the idea of curating an event based on this subject, he said, "With the exhibition 'Tradition meets Modernity - Indian art through ages' I am trying to show the diversity of Indian art in one exhibition - but with more than 1500 Indian artists who joined artforumuae, I have succeeded to show only a small part of that what Indian art is in the areas of tradition (or folk art) and modernity. As a curator, it is on me to unite opposites into a harmonious whole. And that was a real challenge after the works of the seven artists in this exhibition reached me."

When asked about the arrangement, Mr. Peter said, "Curating this event was also a bit challenging and rather interesting for me. Even though there were only 7 artists participating in this event there were about 41 artworks in various sizes and shapes. Only the works of the 17-year-old artist, Varsha Nair, and the 81-year-old artist, Anjini Prakash Laitu, had the same dimensions and were therefore relatively easy to arrange and hang. This venue is very beautiful and I really don't want to have more nails on the wall that may in fact tarnish the existing interior of this hotel. As a curator, I decided to avoid working with easels to maintain the original spacious and professional area, so the challenge was how to accommodate all the artworks and how to arrange them in a manner suitable for viewing the artworks with ease. So, the task of combining an exhibition with a wide variety of works from two subject areas into a harmonious picture without the whole thing looking too overloaded and the separation of the artists being clearly recognizable was met carefully."

Special guest Ms. Sultana Kazim, renowned artist, fashion designer, and Representative and Co-coordinator of Museum of Americas was unable to attend the show due to personal reasons, however, Ms. Sultana conveyed her best wishes to the curator and all the artists.

Mr. Anjini Prakash Laitu, a veteran Indian artist has joined hands with Mr. Peter Gressmann to be a part of this art exhibition. The abstract creations of Mr. Anjini Prakash Laitu have created the artist's identity as his works are exhibited at various art events here in UAE and India. Mr. Laitu is a humble soul who is a special invitee or participant in almost all the art events in UAE and is highly respected in the industry as a talented artist and as an inspiring supporter of art. In addition to his magnificent creations, his commitment and dedication towards art has inspired many regardless of the generation they belong to. The Cultural Department of The United Arab Emirates has acknowledged Mr. Laitu's contribution to the art fraternity by awarding the prestigious 10-year golden cultural visa. It is also quite fascinating to see that he prefers to let visitors truly feel, understand and enjoy his artworks on their own accord rather than narrating the story behind it. His artworks are bedazzled with vibrant colors and that is what makes Mr. Laitu a unique artist. Even though he is in his 80's, he refuses to let even a single day pass by without working his magic with colors on canvases, fabrics or even porcelain. He continues to cherish colors and is thus, known as 'The Man of Colors'

Varsha Saju Nair, a 17-year old artist and the youngest participant in the exhibition says "Ever since I commenced my journey in art, Peter has always been there right by my side. He has guided me by providing constructive criticism whenever required and by encouraging me to forge my own path in art. The theme of the exhibition is 'Tradition meets Modernity' and my works belong to the modern end of the spectrum. I have displayed my series titled 'Elements of life' which consists of 5 artworks namely Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Ether. Fortunately, the artwork titled 'Water' found a new home just days before the exhibition and consequently, the remaining 4 paintings were displayed at the venue. The entire series follows the style of abstract and symbolism and I have also included some cubic elements to reflect my identity. The concept was derived from my initial fascination with the 5 elements of life or 'Pancha Bhoota', the healing nature of fire, the soothing tidal play, the refreshing breeze, the nurturing earth and the element that binds them all together, Ether. I portrayed these works by translating my interpretation of these elements onto the canvas by using appropriate color palettes. It is an honor to be a participant in an exhibition curated by Peter and I will always be grateful for the support he extends to all the artists." 

To work on Indian Mural art is not an easy feat, this form of art has been around for centuries and the subjects portrayed are largely based on Hindu mythology. The figures portrayed and the colors used narrate a story and the designs incorporated are extremely intricate. Ms. Shoba Iyer, who has mastered this art, has exhibited 6 of her creations in this exhibition. "I am one of the artists with the traditional form of folk art - Kerala mural paintings showing its pure depth with its rich colors in line and dot shading. This time, I took one of my art to a different level by creating a fusion with 4 types of folk art in one in my new artwork - 'Dasaavtaar'. The style includes- Pattachithra figures with the combination of Kerala mural style with borders of Madhubani and Kalamkari style. Adding to this with a depth of gold foil! I am happy to be a part of this event with my fellow artists and I am really overwhelmed with the response." says Shobha Iyer

"I am a Dubai-based Indian artist, who is inspired by the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India. The folk traditional art forms from various regions, the designs, motifs, and patterns ingrained in the historical forts and palaces, as well as textile designs all, fascinate me. Each central motif in my paintings has a symbolic meaning and is closely linked to natural, cultural, religious, and spiritual elements of Indian society. My objective is to make a contemporary attempt on long-existing traditional motifs and patterns of India and relive them by incorporating them into modern interiors and architecture. I am honored to be a part of this event that has provided me the opportunity to show my works, which are traditional and artistic, yet contemporary and modern. They are all inspired by traditional Indian art forms like Madhubani, Gond, Lippan, and Warli. Made in my own signature style by incorporating gems and stones, it is my humble effort to give a modern look to the traditional arts." says Sonal Madan Johar an extremely talented artist who has ensured her presence in various art exhibitions and is well received by the art industry.

Shadab Khan is a contemporary artist based in Dubai. The most prominent feature in her artworks is her mastery of fluid art techniques. She combines various media and different elements to achieve the right texture, flow blending, and separation of colors. Three of her stunning abstract works inspired by nature are part of this event. She brought the combination of 3 elements of nature which are galaxies, the sun, and the ocean. "The ocean reminds us of our strength, resilience, our love, and vulnerabilities. Galaxies make us understand that how small we are as compared to what's out there in the universe. A sunrise puts our troubles in perspective, no matter how dark your life seems right now, a sunrise is waiting on your horizon. The theme of this exhibition is an effortless attempt to showcase the traditional and modern styles of the art form, and how they can be tailored together giving an exquisite experience to everyone." says the astoundingly talented artist Shadab Khan.

Quote 'Sadhu, also spelled saadhu, is a religious ascetic, mendicant, or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as yogi, sannyasi, or Bairagi. Literally, it means one who practices a ″sadhana″ or keenly follows a path of spiritual discipline.' Unquote. (Source: Wikipedia). It is very important for our readers to be aware of the subject to be able to truly appreciate the brilliance of the artist. Being a SADHU is indeed divine but that cannot be achieved overnight, there are lots of sacrifices and obstacles in the path to divinity. The renowned artist and a participant in this event, Ms. Meetu Garg has exhibited some amazing portraitures of SADHU "Usually draped in hues of saffron, their hardened faces marked with sacred ash exuding an unmatched detachment from the surroundings, SADHUS (ascetics) are constantly in pursuit of total liberation from ignorance and desires and ultimately identifying the True-Self. We often identify ourselves with the worldly possessions, achievements, and approval of others. But the fact is that our true self, when felt within, is MOTIONLESS, an eternal feeling of contentment and ultimate bliss. Let's go on an inward journey, let's dig deeper, let's honor, love and bow down to the beautiful being that we all are." says Ms. Meetu Garg about her magnificent artworks.

Shereen Abraham, an Indian artist residing in the UAE, ensured her presence in this exhibition by displaying five of her artworks, each with a unique and deep connection to the rich culture and traditions of India. All her artworks are created using vibrant colors and each color used, contains a strong message. "When I was invited to participate in this exhibition titled 'Tradition meets Modernity', I was very excited for three reasons. Firstly, being an Indian, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to translate my thoughts about the essence of my country into art. The creative possibilities that came to my mind were endless and I enjoyed the process of choosing the medium and letting the stories from my heart speak through my artworks! Secondly, it was an honor for me to communicate through my creativity to the viewers who would be going on a visual, imaginary journey through India. And finally, the curator Peter Gressman is a gentleman with a keen eye for detail, great style and fine taste, who knows exactly how an art exhibition should be held - it was an absolute honor to be invited by him to participate in this exhibition." says Ms. Shereen Abraham.

Moment from the event

When asked about the outcome of this exhibition titled 'Tradition meets Modernity - Indian art through ages' Mr. Peter said, "In conclusion as a curator I was able to organize an exhibition with seven participating artists who couldn't be more different but all of them delivered excellent work in their field, which once again shows India is not to be underestimated in art." Just as the curator has beautifully phrased, we have only scratched the surface of Indian art forms, what we have seen today is just a glimpse.

IlTelevisionario2 is proud to be an invitee to this exhibition curated by Mr. Peter Gressmann and I, Saju Nair along with the founder of TV2, Ms. Alessandra Giorda congratulate the curator and the participating artists for all their hard work in putting up this wonderful event. The exhibition will continue till 30th September 2021 @ Artist Playground of the Pullman Creek Hotel, Deira.

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