The past two years have been some of the toughest that we have had to undergo as a society. As the year ends, why not bring home works of art — a mix of photos, sculptures, paintings and video art — themed around resurgence, small moments of happiness, unexpected beauty in the everyday. Each of these creations by leading contemporary and traditional artists reflects on a society emerging from days of isolation, renewal of spirits and optimism.
BACHPAN SERIES BY VICKY ROY
The images in this series hark back to a time when tranquillity and joy could be found in the smallest of moments. This image, taken in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, resonates even more powerfully today, allowing us rare moments of light-heartedness. According to Parul Vadehra, director, Vadehra Art Gallery, this candid photo by Roy from the Bachpan series examines the psychology of games played by underprivileged children in major cities; their access to toys is limited and they are told to share. “Roy’s youthful protagonists display confidence, climbing trees to test their limits and inventing activities using humble found objects and their imaginations,” she adds. Available on the Vadehra Art Gallery Online Shop
DAHLIA BY VALAY GADA
This work is in sync with artist-designer Valay Gada’s overall practice, which looks at the impact of urbanization and climate change on the natural world. He also brings in tenets of Jainism and elements from Indian mythology in his sculptures. For more details, contact Gallery Espace, New Delhi
TOURIST AT TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIA BY VAMIKA JAIN
This is a rather quirky take on vacations by the artist, who has juxtaposed a tourist at the Taj Mahal against majestic mountains. During the pandemic, Jain says, the digital space became a portal to find solace and seek common threads for building conversations . “As the restrictions ease, there is a yearning to travel and belong with others in a new place. One also longs to participate as tourists and feel ‘normal’,” she says. This work reflects how access to popular culture references and social media can direct us to perform and behave in certain ways to get a sense of validation and belonging. The work is part of the ongoing Chennai Photo Biennale Edition III
GOLDEN PLUME BY ANKON MITRA
This bright textured word is inspired by the first sighting of a white peacock—the gold of the grass and shrub on a hot, sunny day a contrast to the beautiful white feathers of the bird. Mitra has used his signature folding technique to evoke the bird’s plumage as it makes a majestic, albeit short, descent to the ground. For details, contact Gallery Art Positive, Delhi
FLYING SENSES BY MANISH SHARMA
This installation—a set of 36 sculptures made with 24 karat gold on fibreglass—is an extremely personal take on the idea of freedom during the pandemic. Both philosophically and artistically, it opens up new ways of understanding isolation, desires, and fetishisation of materials and expressions. Sharma hopes to evoke empathetic relationships between the objects and onlookers. For details, contact Art Centrix, Delhi
GARDEN OF PARADISE 1 BY SOGHRA KHURASANI
Nothing symbolises hope and renewal than this series of etching prints, depicting fields of rice and wheat. “It is said in many faiths and mythologies that we will find our garden of paradise in heaven after death. And as Khurasani found, these are the real gardens of paradise and this world is our heaven,” mentions the curatorial note by Tarq. For more details, contact Tarq, Mumbai
‘UNTITLED’ BY PANDIT BHILA KHAIRNAR
The artist’s canvases have always featured a poetry of colours. And in this 2020-work too, he lyrically alludes to a new dawn. The yellows give way to a subtle orange, evoking Khairnar’s fascination with that mystical moment, when the dark gives way to a new day. For more details, contact Gallery Threshold, New Delhi.