Exploring a mélange of moods

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Drawing from a collection of pre-modern and modern Indian art, art gallery DAG has curated an unparalleled art show, ‘Navrasa — The Nine Emotions of Art’, that views stellar works of Indian masters through the lens of the aesthetic expression of nine bhavas or emotions that lies at the foundation of Indian art…writes Siddhi Jain.

Exploring a melange of moods that we experience during the course of our lives — sometimes on the same day — but with a skew towards beauty, ‘Navrasa’ depicts these emotions through the prism of art with a uniquely Indian perspective and breaks new ground in the visualisation of Indian art.

As the clock winds down on 2020, a year that made us experience every human emotion possible — helplessness (but also compassion), anger (but also love), disgust (but also courage), fear (but also heroism), ugliness (but also beauty), restlessness (but also peace), the gallery rediscovers these crescendos of human emotions. It also explores their intrinsic link with each other and the dynamics they share with Indian modern art in Navrasa, throwing fresh perspective on a language created millennia ago.

The deeply researched and carefully selected works of art are currently on physical exhibit at the DAG galleries in New Delhi and Mumbai till January 2021, and mark the official reopening of DAG spaces in New Delhi and Mumbai for art lovers and connoisseurs, patrons and collectors to view these works of art in their appropriate environment.

Ashish Anand, DAG CEO and Managing Director, notes, “We will long remember 2020 for the havoc that it created but also for the path to hope that it ignited. To mark an event that has reshaped our lives, I wanted to mark the transition from 2020 to 2021 with an exhibition where we could revisit the many moods we experienced and their relationships with each other expressed through the medium of art. Navrasa is our tribute to this experience seen through the eyes of artists who are forever calibrating the world as they see it, and I hope looking at these works through the lens of different emotions will ignite your curiosity and interest in a refreshingly different way of understanding and looking at modern art.”

Distilling the works of art into nine sections, Navrasa interprets artistic practices into shringara (celebration of beauty, love and romance), haasya (laughter and satire), karuna (compassion), veera (courage and heroism), raudra (anger), bheebhatsya (disgust or revulsion), bhayanak (horror, terror or fear), adbhut (a sense of wonderment) and shaantha (peace and tranquillity).

Among the highlights are works by M. F. Husain, F N Souza, Krishen Khanna, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Jamini Roy, B Prabha, Sunil Das, Rameshwar Broota, K K Hebbar, D P Roy Chowdhury, Madhvi Parekh, Altaf, Gogi Saroj Pal, Paritosh Sen, Nikhil Biswas, Rabin Mondal, Somnath Hore, Jogen Chowdhury, K C S Paniker, A Ramachandran, Kshitindranath Mazumdar, as well as rare works by Raja Ravi Varma, A H Muller and Stefan Norblin, among others.

Including prints, paintings and sculptures, the exhibit has 120 lots featuring 129 works of fine art by 85 artists. The online viewing room on the gallery website also runs till January 10, 2021.

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