Art, tea and Varanasi

L-R: Mamta Malhotra and Tanuja Jain
L-R: Mamta Malhotra and Tanuja Jain

You won’t find the usual water colour on paper at this art exhibition. ‘Art Beyond the Canvas’, a collaborative work by two artists being held in Delhi next week, is a medley of studio ceramics in porcelain and stoneware, oil painting on canvas, hand-painted ceramics and mixed media on wood. Ceramicist Tanuja Jain and artist Mamta Malhotra have been inspired by the humble ‘chai’ (tea) and the city of Varanasi to put together this exhibition that captures and celebrates moments and vignettes of life.

Their work engulfs ancient arts, archaeology, religious places, and sculptures with a touch of modern and vibrant India, bringing affordable art to the tables and homes of people. Inspired by colours and forms of nature, Tanuja – who has been exhibiting ceramic art for over a decade across the world – has created one-of-a-kind pieces for this show. Using a multitude of slips, stains, textures, special pencils, crayons, pigments and hand painting, she gives a compelling identity to ceramic tableware and furniture. She explains, “Mamta and I have synchronized varied moods and expressions of chai and the city to bring people close to ancient roots.”

The juxtaposition and contrast of urban landscapes and a rich culture inspired Mamta to paint cityscapes highlighting the ephemeral beauty and fragility of Varanasi. Her work is a conglomeration of texture and colour. Born in Mumbai, Mamta grew up amid beautiful valleys, mountains and gardens in Kashmir, Pune, Gangtok and Bhutan, and now lives in Varanasi, Toronto and San Francisco. An architect and landscape designer, she’s learnt sculpture from some of the biggest names in India and has been featured in some of the most prestigious journals across the world. She uses wood, canvas, paint, paper, ceramics and thread to add layers and dimension resulting in highly textural works that intrigue the senses. Mamta says, “Our works are a humble effort to recognize and reevaluate our roots.”

Check out the exhibition at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, from September 20 to 25, 2015 (11 am to 7 pm).

Here are some samples of Mamta Malhotra’s work:

Mamta Malhotra  (1) Mamta Mamta Malhotra Mamta Malhotra  (2)

And here are samples of Tanuja Jain’s work:

Tanuja Jain (6) Tanuja Jain (5) Tanuja Jain (4) Tanuja Jain (3) Tanuja Jain (2) Tanuja Jain (1) Tanuja Jain  (2) Tanuja Jain  (1)