New Delhi: At the Bikaner House art event here, internationally acclaimed artist Anil Revri who divides his time between Delhi and Washington, DC mesmerized his audience. In an age grappling with the banality of computer assisted art, it was refreshing to encounter the richly nuanced art of an artist who was born in India, whose taproots are in this specific part of the world, and who draws inspiration from this remembered and often visited landscape.
Revri, the son of illustrious parents — eminent journalist Inder Malhotra and Rekha, a leading exponent of the classical dance forms of Bharat Natyam and Kuchipudi — divided his talk and presentation into two distinct groups.
The first half of the presentation focused on his life and work in India between 1976–1996 and comprised abstract works inspired by the Indian landscape, and pen-and-ink drawings illustrating a host of subjects including Freud’s interpretation of dreams and Tantric chakras. The second half highlighted his commercial graphic work, a series of eighteen drawings entitled Cultural Crossings, geometric abstractions and Wall for Peace, a sculpture he created for his exhibition at the American University Museum which was later displayed at Washington Dulles International Airport from 2012–2014.
Writer and social commentator Sunil Mehra, and art historian cum curator Annapurna Garimella, discussed the artist’s work from two different vectors. Mehra focused on the personal and firmly placed the artist within the context of the vibrant artistic and cultural environment of India during the 70s and 80s. Garimella quizzed the artist about his education, environment, choice of materials and subject matter, and how it feels to be an artist in America in the aftermath of 9/11.
At a time when hate crimes involving race, gender and ethnicity are on the rise, Revri’s Wall for Peace holds special relevance. This four-sided LED screen displays English translations of scriptures related to peace from six religions that scroll across the entire surface of the unit. Rays of light emanating from the unit projected onto the viewers as they walk around the work become a symbolic act of cleansing of religious and racial prejudices.
Who’s who such as Chairman SNSMT Shri. Suparno Satpathy, DG of National Gallary of Modern Art (NGMA) Shri. Adwaita Gadanayak, Former Governor of Odisha Shri. MC Bhandare, Artist Shri. Manu Parekh and few others were seen in attendance. The event had witnessed a full house.