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Parallel Wings: The Art of Rini Dhumal

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Item Code: HAG406
Author: Sushma K Bahl and Rini Dhumal
Publisher: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9789385360299
Pages: 168 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 12.00 X 10.50 inch
Weight 1.56 kg
Book Description
About the Author

Sushma K Bahl is an independent arts adviser, writer and curator based in Delhi. She is credited with initiating and leading on several significant creative projects across different art forms, creative domains, culture and education and involving international collaboration, including the festivals of India held in the UK in 1982 and South Korea in 2005. Bahl is former Head of Arts and Culture at British Council India and the author of 5000 Years of Indian Art besides several other books. Recipient of the MBE for her contribution to India-UK cultural collaborative work, and the IHC Art India Award for her curation of Ways of Seeing art exhibition, Bahl is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Most recently, she has curated Forms of Devotion, an ongoing international art exhibition for the Museum of Sacred Art in Belgium, launched in Delhi and Bangkok in 2015, shown at the China Art Museum in Shanghai and in Spain until January 2017. Bahl also writes for various Indian and international art publications and journals and gives lectures on Indian culture, arts, crafts and heritage.
Anil Dharker is a noted columnist and writer based in Mumbai. At various stages in his life Dharker has been an engineer, film and TV critic and a film censor, a promoter of New Cinema (heading the National Film Development Corporation) and has written columns for most of India's leading newspapers. As Editor, he has led some of the most well-known dailies of India-Mid-day and Sunday Mid-day, The Independent and The Illustrated Weekly of India. He has worked in television as producer and anchor, as well as head of a TV channel. He is also the Founder and Director of the Mumbai International Literary Festival. Literature Live!, the organisation he founded to run the litfest, also organises literary events through the year in different parts of Mumbai. He is also the author of several books and his columns now appear in The Asian Age, The Financial Chronicle, Deccan Chronicle, On Stage and The Huffington Post.


Some artists look like housewives, others look like bank clerks. This is not to denigrate home-makers or ledger-keepers: it's just to say that not all artists look like artists. Rini Dhumal does. She has the look of someone steeped in art.
No wonder her house in Vadodara (or Baroda) looks like an artist's house too, with its walls covered with paintings (many, but not all, her own). Where there are no paintings, there are tapestries, while on the floor, rugs and carpets complement the overall feel of artistic exuberance?
Yet, Rini Dhumal's persona is not all that it seems to be from her work: she is serene, sunny and welcoming to guests, yet her art carries messages which are quite the opposite. Her women-and the feminine figure dominates her work-are wilful. Defiant and occasionally even imbued with a latent aggression which tells the world they are not to be trifled with.
These women must come from her childhood in a Bengal which had just been partitioned, so that even in a happy childhood, there was the looming presence of alienation. Not all Partition-related migrations were violent, but there is also a violence which, although not physical, can be equally traumatic, and who knows what effect forced displacement had on a young girl who suddenly had to give up home and friends, and relocate elsewhere?
Perhaps all this is idle speculation. On the other hand, Rini Dhumal's celebrated Ancestral Tapestry (2002), with striking visual Expressionist imagery, which draws upon her childhood memories of her family home before and after Partition, can give us some clues about the impact of events on the artist as a young child. This is a magnificent work that grew over the years-the year 2002 only marks its date of completion.
In this tapestry we find moods that are as varied as life itself-some sombre, some joyous, some celebratory, some painful. There are haunting portraits of family members, and in some of the women depicted here, you detect not just the trauma of displacement, but also of the general oppressive nature of the treatment of women in traditional society. It's a complex work, and for those of us who try to delve into an artist's mind, perhaps the Ancestral Tapestry holds the key.
What I find remarkable about Rini's artistic journey is that in spite of the varied influences she has experienced, she remains very much her own person. Her art education took place in Baroda's Faculty of Fine Arts, the institution that has been responsible for what is informally called the Baroda school. The art she saw in her early years in Bengal was mainly folk art; in Baroda, the predominant culture was Modernist. Later, she won a scholarship to study in Paris, which, of course, is the Mecca for all artists, its inspiration coming from its fabled history, its long artistic tradition, the seismic movements in art that it has produced, and, of course, its inspiring monuments. On returning to India, she worked with K G Subramanyan in Baroda, and with Somenath Hore in Santiniketan.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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