Cause on the canvas at the art conclave

Akash Wadhwa | Times of India | March 17, 2016 

Over 100 artists from across the country are bringing social messages to life with their art at the conclave organised by Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi in association with a private university in Lucknow.

This isn’t just art for art’s sake. At the ongoing art camp at Dr Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University in the city 112 artists from all over India attending the Art, most of the Conclave, have chosen to convey relevant social messages through their art. The 10-day conclave, ending on Sunday, is part of the 57th National Art Exhibition being held at Lalit Kala Akademi, Lucknow these days.

Take for instance, Mohd Nain, a painter from Noida, who is highlighting internet addiction in his painting at the painting programme. “People today are so occupied with their smartphones that hardly anyone has time to talk to each other and that is what I am showcasing in my painting,” says Nain, who began by painting a smartphone screen on the canvas. “I want to show the craze or addiction for selfies, Facebook, Instagram in my painting. I want people to realize how they have changed socially since smartphones and social media came in,” he adds, ” Apart from me, a lot of other artistes are making paintings highlighting various causes. The camp is a great way to interact with other artistes, and to know the causes highlighted in their works.”

Mumbaikar Suraj, another artist at the camp organised by Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi along with the Dr Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University, is using his canvas to talk about the shift from organic materials to plastic. “When my painting will be complete, you will see how the age old potter’s wheel is now producing plastic bottles. Ab sab kuchh badal gaya hai. Ab koi mitti ke bartan nahi use karta, everyone uses plastic, which harms the environment,” says Suraj.

On the other hand, Rajnikant’s painting of gold fish in a bowl also draws attention towards the need to save our environment.”Paintings are a perfect medium to highlight a cause and therefore, through my painting, I am showcasing how human beings are polluting river water with industrial waste. There will come a time when fishes will exist only on paper,” says Rajnikant.


Naveen Kumar from Bengaluru is making use of the artists’s platform to protest against the privatisation of the Venkatappa Art Gallery in his hometown. ” After the artists in the city complained against the toilets at the gallery being dirty, the government has decided to hand it over to a private organisation. The issue is quite close to my heart and that’s why I have chosen to highlight it in this camp,” says Naveen adding, “My painting has a king sleeping on his throne while people are shouting slogans to not privatize the gallery. It is a sort of an attack on the government there.”


Quite worried about the present drought situation in the country and so many farmers committing suicide because of it, painter and Lucknowite Sanjay Raj has painted a lion who has a broken clay pot in place of his face. “A picture is worth a thousand words. As you can see in my painting, there are clouds scattered in the sky, but there is no rain. The same has happened with us last year. While there were clouds, it did not rain at all resulting in a drought.”


Doodh Mein Milawat is the subject of a painting undertaken by Anil Kumar, a painter from Haryana. “Aaj-kal har cheez mein milawat hai. Since I am from Haryana, I see a lot of milkmen carrying milk in their containers, tied to the windows of the train. I am painting that scene with a few more additions, trying to showcase how milk today is not as pure as it used to be a till about a decade back,” says Anil.


Vadodara lad Adarsh Baji has chosen a rather bold theme for his creation on canvas. “In this black and white painting you can see a tiger standing quietly in a corner of a room, watching a bed near him. While I have left it to the viewers to imagine what is happening on the bed, with the help of this painting I want to talk about how animals, even tigers, are more sensitive than us.They won’t attack human beings while they are making out,” laughs Adarsh.