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Pays homage to both the journeys of the earthly  body and the transcendental soul. This idea is articulated in various ways in India’s material culture and represents a larger philosophy of  ever changing nature of man’s existence, one in constant state of flux, subject to the cyclical motions of kala or time. 

‘India Moves’ is a scenographic portrayal of  both the physical voyages that have charted India’s history and the concept of symbolic journey of the soul. These two ideas,over a period of time have become  integral elements of Indian Culture and are practiced in its traditions and expressed in its arts and crafts. Thus, the age-old modes of transport like antique boats, bullock carts, elephant howdahs, wedding litters and palanquins, temple chariots and padukas that speak of modes of transport both mundane and festive, find expression as part of installations where boat heads and boats serenely float amid anachronistic schools of scrap-metal fish, and fantastical flying locomotives and mythical creatures are suspended in mid-flight from the ceiling above. A large stone relief depicts large ships bearing monks, merchants, and goods across tumultuous seas. The scenes and the style of the carving follow that of the 9 th century carvings of the Borobadur Temple in Java, the architecture and sculptural program of which reveal a strong Indian influence. This then pays homage to the concept of a Greater India and the shared histories with the rest of Asia.


Mukul Goyal with Gond artists Subhash Vyam, Durgabai Vyam, Prasad Khushram and Ram Singh.

Titled ‘The Flying Locomotives’, Mukul Goyal’s installation at the Mumbai International Airport consists of 10 sculptures suspended from the ceiling. The site-specific installation is poised 30 feet off the ground like an enormous mobile. Based on the theme of locomotion, transport, and flight. ‘The Flying Locomotives’ borrows from the repository of fantastical flying vehicles and creatures from Gond art, transforming them into three-dimensional mild steel sculptures.  “Given the unusual scale and sculptural quality required for this installation,  simply selecting motifs from the vast visual vocabulary of the Gond tribal community would not have worked. The process began with repeated visits to the workshops of Gond artists in Bhopal during which we explored various possibilities, generating novel forms that drew on the tradition but were more suited to our requirements,” Goyal says. Various new Gond motifs including a train shaped like a giant flying insect, an airborne elephant, flying geese, and the Hindu deity Hanuman depicted as though flying, evolved. These and other motifs created specifically for ‘The Flying Locomotive’ then had to be converted into three-dimensional sculptures, a particularly difficult task according to Goyal.  “Gond art is made almost exclusively on a flat surface and hence, it has a particular linearity. Transforming this sensibility into three-dimensional or plastic forms was a unique challenge. ”  Working with the team of craftsmen at his factory, who are trained in the art of cutting, welding, polishing and embossing metalwork, Goyal united the various forms with a framework that resembles a skyline of clouds. “Since the forms are drawn from Gond art, the sculptures are truly indigenous and possess none of the influences of Western sculptural forms.” The next challenge was to make this mobile sculpture of mammoth proportions kinetic.  “An additional factor that had to be considered is that this work will be viewed from different levels at the airport lounge. Hence, the sculpture had to be well-rounded from all sides … Creating a static sculpture would have been easier but adding movement made it more interesting. Every time we had to add or subtract to the assemblage, it had to be done at a height that approximated the level at which it would be hung in the airport,” says Goyal.


Rajeev Sethi with Ramniwas Sharma and stone carvers from Rajasthan

The artwork traces the movement of Indian ships up to the sea port of Borobudur in Indonesia. The relief work depicts the events related to maritime life and business & cultural connectivity between far away destinations. Details of ships, the events at the port are interestingly elaborated on the Buddha Stupa walls (The largest in the world).  



Exploring cultures through technology, especially with respect to urbanization, has been a recurring concern in Abhinav’s varied works. His installation ‘Freeze Frame’ is themed around movement. Interpretation of Vahanas or semi-divine mounts of the Hindu gods, in a 21st century counterpart, is represented along with  bar animation on the walls behind them.  Sharing stylized images of Airavat; the celestial elephant favored by the king of the gods Indra,  the mythical eagle Garuda who is Vishnu’s mount and mascot; Shiva’s bull Nandi etc. Abhinav clarifies “This work is very different from my usual style. Usually, my work  that does not always have a visual component, is largely text based and plays with ideas.”   The lion, the iconic mount of the goddess Durga, and the horse mount of the sun god Surya, have been animated. The others are compound images developed manually on the computer, a form of analogue animation that is often used in children’s books. These ‘scanimations’ or animated illustrations, the image that is created by collapsing or layering multiple images one over the other.  “I worked with an animation artist to develop the movement of the vahanas frame by frame, where the images were collapsed into one and the frames were then overlapped. This leads to a kind of ghost image and your mind tends to fill in the details of what you don’t see,” explains Abhinav. “The images are laser cut into acrylic sheets and high-density fibre boards such that 3 layers were created: a positive, a negative, and a shaded area. While the positive space is filled with marble dust, the negative space is over-layered with rice paper. LED lights placed behind the rice paper illuminate the contours of the form, creating the effect of a ghost image. The work plays with many zones of shade and light that illuminate the compressed frames of a regular animation.” says Abhinav.



A haveli façade modelled in Shekhawati style of Indian miniature painting style depict various modes and forms of transportation from different eras depicting the discovery of hot air balloons to an airplane.  The illusion of movement is created by multiple shadow graphics around the figures to animate the haveli facade.



"Centuries before airplanes, helicopters, and the like were invented, fantastic flying vehicles or udan khatola were commonplace in Indian epics and folk art. Powered by fire, wind and lightning, these were magical locomotives that sailed across the skies and oceans like comets, as fast as thought itself. Some were aerial chariots and armoured cars fitted with missiles, designed to carry warrior deities and demons during military sieges,” says curator Rajeev Sethi. Artist Madhavi Parekh reinterpreted the udankhatola as two enormous painted vehicles, playfully suspended from the ceiling as though mid-flight. They appear to be a part-bird and part-machine, hybrids born of legend and modern design. It  is made lightweight so as to safely suspend it from the airport’s ceiling made in a bamboo skeleton fleshed out with bamboo baskets and winnowing pans.  Madhvi Parekh painted the entire surface of the udankhatolas with stylised images of the plural culture of Mumbai. Painted in blue, black and white, the imagery has a strong graphic quality that references folk art in a contemporary voice.  “The forms of the udankhatola were inspired by the description of the demon Ravana’s vehicle in the Ramayana. We have modernised his vehicle, a chariot driven by a giant bird, adding elements of a futuristic jet plane and a 19th century palanquin,” says Satbir Kajania who worked with Madhvi Parekh.   Parekh further expands on the concept. “For the udankhatola I have worked spontaneously, letting the forms guide me. Although I sketch regularly I did not want to pre-plan or sketch out the forms before I began,” she says, of the bearded men, playful children, birds, cows, and butterflies that populate the surface of the udankhatola along with images of temples, churches and mosques, trains and office buildings. If one looks closely at the narrative, scenes from the Ramayana emerge. However, there are many contemporary elements that dominate the surface. As a result, it is not immediately apparent that the artist is drawing from mythology. Central to the structure is the mythical bird Jatayu whose beak and bulbous eyes have been decorated with traditional design patterns that one may come across in Madhubani paintings.



In this rice  paper collage, the artist takes inspiration from elements of Rajasthani Shekhawati style painting, but produces a contemporary style of painting.  Small pieces of paper thoughtfully placed appear as patches of different colours juxtaposed with each other, they create an ‘impressionistic approach’. The artwork from being an  illustration becomes an impression. It creates a beautiful illusion of the space surrounding the chariot. The real chariot as an artefact  put in front of the painting makes the scene come alive.



Movement is life, Movement is time, Movement is space, Movement is constant.  Movement also as Vahanas. In our rich indian tradition vahanas play a major role. Gods have their own vahanas. At times, they are named after their Vahanas. Vishnu with Garuda is called Vahanar, Karthikeyan or Murugan has a peacock and is named as Mayilvahana, Shiva with rishabh vahana is called as Rishabha devar. Combining different animals and birds as vahanas for various deities in a way emphasised the value of animals for human’s existence and helped build awareness against animal cruelty. The artists, being contemporary in their approach but taking inspiration from tradition for its content, explored the concept of vahanas as a movement in time and space. Various images of vahanas juxtaposed with Mayan's iconography sourced from first Tamil sangam, depicted in Thanjavur style of painting resulted in a depiction of a stable constant.  The deities and its Vahanas are the constant unaffected by time and space in the world of man who in his cycle of birth and death is just a visitor on this planet earth, constantly moving and changing.



This painting takes the inspiration from the "PALITHANA PATT" which is an original piece, almost 100 years old. Trilok Soni designs his painting to be a backdrop of this patt by painting an early map of Mumbai and chooses the colours to merge with that of Palithana patta.



Toys denote playtime and fun, but on closer inspection of Pankaj Saroj’s ‘Bombay Toys’, these  ‘toys’ do not appear particularly playful. Rather, they are grim-faced feral creatures, squeezing themselves into the confines of vehicles like cars and trains. Distorted and simian-like, they bear an air of the grotesque. Intermittently, all this movement is brought to a halt, when a bomb rips through the compartment of a train or goes off at a bus stop. The underlying potential for danger and violence is underwritten in Saroj’s drawings that appear to vibrate with seething tension. “I have visited Bombay many times,” says Saroj, “I would watch mesmerised, for hours, the people getting on and off the commuter trains, a mass of bodies moving almost as though possessed of a mind of its own. If one looks past the reality of the daily struggle to survive in the city, I can almost see them as wound up toys. That is why I wanted to introduce a sense of humour into my narrative and I call my work Bombay Toys”. After much contemplation, Saroj decided to focus on the constant movement that characterises both the city of Bombay and the lifestyle of its denizens. “To me Bombay is like a machine, with so many parts, each working independently yet somehow becoming part of a larger choreography. If one part is off key, the city collapses.” He isolates various elements of the city’s theatre – everyday people on the street, the dabbawalas (tiffin-carriers) transporting lunches to office-goers, the businessmen, the aromatic macchiwale (fishmongers), the ‘chamakte sitare’ or the glamorous film stars and models – weaving them into his work as commuters alighting from commuter trains, buses, cars and airplanes in a flurry of activity. Despite all the colour and variety that Bombay had to offer, Saroj elected to work in black and white. “I still distinctly recall my first experience of the city. How odd it seemed that the sea’s presence should be so strongly felt. There seemed to be so many people, they felt like one enormous presence rather than a crowd of distinct individuals. Everywhere there was this sense of rush. I returned home and made a painting. It turned out to be a composition all in yellow, black and white … The reason I chose black-and-white was primarily because this is the palette I am most comfortable with. Secondly, though Bombay is very colourful as a city, I wanted to emphasise the dichotomies that are inherent in the city … I felt that this kind of dichotomy can only be captured in black and white drawings, so both the material and style is primal and raw,” says Saroj. Saroj’s work is made of over 600 glass panels on which images are etched and digitally transferred. This technique is relatively new to Saroj’s oeuvre, an extension of his previous practice of drawing and printmaking onto a larger, more sculptural medium. Saroj’s process is rather unique, involving numerous drawings on paper using charcoal pencils that are then drum-scanned and recomposed digitally into larger works. These in turn are then etched and digitally printed onto the glass sheets. In some sections, images are overlapped on multiple layers of glass to create what Saroj refers to as ‘brahm’ or illusion. A viewer seeing the work from below may see a car but when he or she approaches the image, the car disappears to reveal an airplane. Isolated images of human figures on three layered glass sheets, when seen cumulatively, suggest motion. Although the medium lends the figures an eerie weightlessness, Saroj argues that the sense of illusion is inherent in the drawing itself.



In this painting, the  artist shows the ancient tradition of procession. The procession, called ‘Sawari’  represents an ancient mode of festivity and celebrations. ‘ Great Indian Procession’  shows  delicately detailed chariots, carts, palkis,  dancers, musicians with different musical instruments, different kings, queens and their soldiers, different types of people and animals all painted in  Mughal, Mewar, Shekhawati school (Shaily/sryle).



Conceived as a collage of images, Piyush Sharma says, “Journey to Subconscious, while movement and transportation is the theme underlying the work, it has  both traditional elements as well as reference to modern elements  like airplanes. Sharma's work consists of images painted on a special Bhutanese rice paper mounted on high density fibreboard and  ply. Sharma excavates India's rich visual history to locate references of painted images of flying celestial maidens, mythical chariots, deities with their animal vahanas, vehicles, mendicants, palanquins, processions, elephants and horses, bullock carts, steam engines, buses, cars, airplanes and wedding litters.  Thus, images derived from the Buddhist murals at the Ladakhi monastery of Alchi and the caves of Ajanta in Maharashtra rub shoulders with the painted and gilt embossed icons of the Hindu temple town of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu with dry frescoes from Rajasthan to Company School paintings.  "When one is working with different images sourced from a variety of disciplines, periods and styles, one has to be really careful lest they appear scattered. My job as the architect of this piece, is to ensure that there is a unity and synergy to the work. That the images come together stylistically and become part of the floating world of the work," says Sharma. In line with his thought process, Sharma chooses to devote a segment of his installation to the interpretations of the carvings on the bridal litters of the Santhals, a tribe who inhabit the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, and Assam. "What is unique about the Santhals is that their art not only commemorates elaborate scenes from daily life in the village, the oral history of the Santhals (including their armed rebellion against the British), and their mythology, it also celebrates important rites of passage like marriage and birth festivals marking the agrarian cycle of sowing and harvest, and symbols of fecundity such as creepers, flowers, fruits and couples in intimate relationships.