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Contemporary Indian Art

Celebrating 25 years of Art.Motif
An online exhibition

2021

Contemporary Indian Art

Celebrating 25 years of Art.Motif
An online exhibition

2021

Works
Curatorial Note
- / - INFOVIEW LARGER

Prosthor

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Ajit Kumar Das

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Natural dyes on cotton fabric

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178 x 191cm

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CODE: AJIT / 12

Tarang III

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Ajit Kumar Das

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Natural dyes on cotton fabric

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46 x 71cm

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CODE: AJIT / 13

North South

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Amitava Das

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Oil and permanent marker on canvas

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46 x 61cm

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CODE: AMTD / 7

Cardinal Points

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Amitava Das

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Oil and permanent marker on canvas

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46 x 61cm

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CODE: AMTD / 8

Atmosphere

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Antonio E. Costa

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Mixed media on canvas

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91 x 91cm

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CODE: ANCO / 24

Untitled

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Anwar

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Mixed media on canvas

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259 x 86cm

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CODE: ANWA / 7

Regeneration

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Delna Dastur

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Mixed media on canvas

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102 x 102cm

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CODE: DELN / 51

The gold become a tree

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G. R. Iranna

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Silver foil acrylic on tarpaulin

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183 x 137cm

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CODE: GRIR / 2

Mother's letter every day changes

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Ganesh Gohain

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Mixed media on canvas

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152 x 107cm

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CODE: GANG / 33

Gold Dots - A Poem

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Ganesh Gohain

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Mixed media on canvas

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107 x 152cm

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CODE: GANG / 34

Untitled

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Gopi Gajwani

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Charcoal on tinted paper

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30 x 33cm

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CODE: GOPI / 23

Untitled

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Gopi Gajwani

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Charcoal on tinted paper

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30 x 33cm

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CODE: GOPI / 24

Untitled

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Gopi Gajwani

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Charcoal on tinted paper

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30 x 33cm

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CODE: GOPI / 25

Untitled

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Gopi Gajwani

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Charcoal on tinted paper

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30 x 33cm

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CODE: GOPI / 26

Neighbour's House

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Gulammohammed Sheikh

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Water colour on paper

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25 x 36cm

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CODE: GULM / 2

Untitled

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John Tun Sein

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Mixed media on canvas

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99 x 119cm

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CODE: JNTS / 138

Untitled

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John Tun Sein

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Mixed media on canvas

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119 x 160cm

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CODE: JNTS / 139

Untitled

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Jyoti Bhatt

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Mixed media on canvas

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28 x 36cm

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CODE: JYOB / 9

Dockyard 1

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Kishor Shinde

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Powder coated aluminium

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130 x 89cm

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CODE: KISH / 24

Untitled

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Kishor Shinde

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Oil and acrylic on canvas

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152 x 152cm

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CODE: KISH / 25

Dwelling into the past

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Kiyomi Talaulicar

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Acrylic on canvas

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61 x 152cm

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CODE: KIYO / 27

Niche

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Kiyomi Talaulicar

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Mixed media on Arches paper

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15 x 15cm

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CODE: KIYO / 28

Untitled

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M. Pravat

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Mixed media on canvas

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79 x 81cm

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CODE: MPRV / 2

Untitled

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M. Pravat

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Mixed media on canvas

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79 x 81cm

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CODE: MPRV / 3

Life Breath

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Manisha Gera Baswani

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Watercolour, gouache and pin incisions on paper

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46 x 61cm

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CODE: MNGB / 9

Owl

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Manoj Dutta

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Mixed media on paper

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25 x 41cm

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CODE: MANO / 4

Deer

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Manoj Dutta

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Mixed media on paper

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25 x 41cm

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CODE: MANO / 5

Strewn

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Mekhala Bahl

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Oil, acrylic, collage on canvas

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97 x 97cm

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CODE: MEKH / 7

Untitled

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Mona Rai

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Mixed media on canvas

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188 x 122cm

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CODE: MONA / 13

Untitled

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Mona Rai

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Mixed media on canvas

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188 x 122cm

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CODE: MONA / 14

Memorial

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Neha Puri Dhir

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Resist dyeing on hand woven silk

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56 x 53cm

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CODE: NEHA / 20

Inheritance

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Neha Puri Dhir

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Resist dyeing on hand woven silk

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46 x 25cm

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CODE: NEHA / 21

Red Imprint

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Pierre Legrand

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Diptych, acrylic on fibre glass mesh

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122 x 183cm

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CODE: PIER / 2

Scrambled Scribbles

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Pooja Iranna

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Graphite, pastels on parchment paper, set of 8

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50 x 76cm

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CODE: POOJ / 5

Untitled

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Prabhakar Kolte

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Mixed media on paper

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25 x 51cm

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CODE: PRBK / 13

Untitled

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Rakesh Kumar

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Pastels on paper

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48 x 64cm

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CODE: RAKS / 51

Untitled

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Rakesh Kumar

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Pastels on paper

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48 x 53cm

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CODE: RAKS / 52

Untitled

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Renuka Reddy

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Handpainted, mordant and resist-dyed hundred percent cotton in natural dyes

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107 x 107cm

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CODE: RENU / 18

Untitled

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Renuka Reddy

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Handpainted, mordant and resist-dyed hundred percent cotton in natural dyes

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41 x 41cm

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CODE: RENU / 19

Chintz 20

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Renuka Reddy

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Hand drawn, mordant painted, and resist-dyed 100% cotton in natural dyes

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45.5 x 120cm

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CODE: RENU / 20

Chintz 21

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Renuka Reddy

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Hand drawn, mordant painted, and resist-dyed 100% cotton in natural dyes

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48 x 103cm

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CODE: RENU / 21

Untitled

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S. Harshavardhana

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Mixed media on paper

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56 x 74cm

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CODE: SHRV / 35

Untitled

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Samit Das

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Pencil, pen and ink on paper

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127 x 102cm

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CODE: SAMD / 12

Untitled

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Santana Gohain

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Mixed media on canvas

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91 x 152cm

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CODE: SANT / 28

Invisible Presence

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Santana Gohain

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Acrylic and oil pastel paper on board

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91 x 152cm

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CODE: SANT / 29

Testimony of Time

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Shalina S. Vichitra

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Acrylic and mixed media on linen

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHVI / 63

Testimony of Time

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Shalina S. Vichitra

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Acrylic and mixed media on linen

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHVI / 64

Testimony of Time

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Shalina S. Vichitra

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Acrylic and mixed media on linen

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHVI / 65

Testimony of Time

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Shalina S. Vichitra

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Acrylic and mixed media on linen

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHVI / 66

In Consonance

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Shalina S. Vichitra

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Mild Steel

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304 x 182cm

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CODE: SHVI / 67

Untitled

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Shalini Saran

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Pastels on paper

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76 x 56cm

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CODE: SHSA / 53

Untitled

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Sheetal Gattani

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Mixed media on paper

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHGA / 28

Untitled

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Sheetal Gattani

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Mixed media on paper

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHGA / 29

Untitled

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Sheetal Gattani

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Mixed media on paper

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHGA / 30

Untitled

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Sheetal Gattani

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Mixed media on paper

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30 x 30cm

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CODE: SHGA / 31

Untitled

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Shobha Broota

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Oil on canvas

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91 x 91cm

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CODE: SHBR / 9

Mountains

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Shobha Ghare

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Mixed media on paper

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33 x 38cm

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CODE: SHGH / 43

Foggy Mountains

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Shobha Ghare

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Mixed media on paper

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33 x 38cm

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CODE: SHGH / 44

Visual Voyage

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Sohini Dhar

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Mixed media on canvas

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56 x 69cm

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CODE: SOHI / 10

Purple Chrysanthemums

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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30 x 41cm

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CODE: SUDB / 10

A sunbird in lantana bush

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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30 x 41cm

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CODE: SUDB / 11

Spider Plant

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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30 x 41cm

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CODE: SUDB / 12

Ipomea in Bloom

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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30 x 41cm

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CODE: SUDB / 13

Kakjangha

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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30 x 41cm

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CODE: SUDB / 14

Cassia Alata, study

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Suddhasattwa Basu

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Watercolour on paper

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26.5 x 23cm

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CODE: SUDB / 15

Vikhroli Night

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Sudhir Patwardhan

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Pastels on black paper

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56 x 76cm

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CODE: SDPT / 8

Untitled

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Vishaka Apte

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Oil on canvas

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122 x 91cm

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CODE: VSHK / 26

Paper Story 1

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Yashwant Deshmukh

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Acrylic and pencil on canvas

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61 x 61cm

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CODE: YASH / 4

Untitled

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Yashwant Deshmukh

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Acrylic and pencil on canvas

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76 x 76cm

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CODE: YASH / 5

Untitled

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Yogendra Tripathi

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Acrylic on paper

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36 x 53cm

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CODE: YOGT / 75

Untitled

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Yogendra Tripathi

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Mixed media on canvas

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173 x 173cm

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CODE: YOGT / 76

Untitled

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Yogesh Rawal

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Paper collage, tissue papers, cellulose, synthetic resins on treated wood

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152 x 152cm

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CODE: YOGR / 6

Untitled

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Yogesh Rawal

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Paper collage, tissue papers, cellulose, synthetic resins on treated wood

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122 x 122cm

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CODE: YOGR / 7

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Art.Motif & the Indian Art Scene: 25 years

- Ella Datta

Art.Motif, an intimate gallery set up by Mala Aneja, opened its doors in Delhi in November 1995. The first show, 'Images on paper' was curated by poet, writer and independent curator, Prayag Shukla.

The gallery was launched at a time of great ferment in the art world. Even as visual language and art practices were changing radically, the business of art was poised for taking off to dizzying heights.

The art scene had come alive with an air of optimism. It was a time when a new generation of artists was exploring daringly new frontiers in art language. A number of new, young artists was dominating the gallery spaces in the big cities. Artists like Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Shilpa Gupta and several others among their contemporaries were acquiring international presence when the new millennium came around.

The new generation of artists experimented with form, medium, material with great energy. Installations became very visible at exhibition spaces. Atul Dodiya started painting on rolling shutters; Anjum Singh experimented with several materials, among them ball bearings and magnets to create forms suggesting crowded habitats. She made references to manifestations of consumerism in her installations. Sheba Chachi created an installation on Meena Kumari using a quantity of glass bangles among many other things. Priya Ravish Mehra worked with fibres and fabrics dyed with dyes of her own making. And she was not alone in working with fabrics. Many women artists used stitching as a part of their practice. Artists made installations with sand and even simulations of bread slices. Digital resources were being widely used and videos as exhibits were not uncommon. The possibilities were endless.

Side by side, with this explosion of creativity, there was a boom in the gallery business. New galleries opened up in all the metropolitan cities and many new collectors, some of them from countries abroad, arrived on the scene. A reflection of this trend was observed in the increased importance of international auctions of Indian and South Asian art. As a result of this, it was noticed from the mid-Nineties onwards that works of Indian artists fetched prices well above their reserve prices. A barrier was shattered when Tyeb Mehta's 'Celebration' sold for some Rs 2.5 crore in 2002 at a Christie's auction. It was a record price for any Indian artist till then.

A fallout of this was that the local art market quickened. Indian auction houses like Saffronart started in the new millennium. There was a frenzy among galleries to deal in the big signatures. There was a rush of workshops and residences organised by galleries where the front-ranking artists were sure to be invited. The surge in demand had some unhappy consequences. For instance, fake art multiplied noticeably. But there were happy developments as well. Most exhibitions were well documented with galleries printing proper catalogues. Art publishing received a fillip. A large number of books on artists were printed by galleries. Art lovers could access reprints.

Another noticeable development was the flattening of the distinction between high art and folk art. A couple of decades before the new millennium, there was a huge uproar because it was proposed by the commissioners of a Triennale that a couple of renowned folk artists share exhibition space with modern artists. However, in recent times, some galleries combined folk art with modern and contemporary in their group shows without much resistance. In fact, in the new millennium, some galleries turned exclusively to dealing in folk art.

Post-2008, the art market took a hit for a while following the international economic crisis. A number of galleries closed their doors. Others began showing photographs, graphic prints, drawings and watercolours instead of large oils. But the downturn did not last too long. And till the pandemic hit, the art scene had once again been quite lively.

Through the ups and downs in the art scene, Art.Motif charted its course quite steadily. From the earlier years, it expanded gradually to its present quarters in the same building. Over the last few years, some exciting exhibitions have been mounted in this open, attractive, well- proportioned exhibition space, still exuding an air of intimacy.

The first solo exhibition that Mala mounted in the mid-1990s was a show of S Harshavardhana's work and it was his first solo as well. The choice of Harshavardhana, an abstract artist, points to Mala's predilections as well. She has always responded to abstract, non-objective art and carefully given a clear direction to her gallery, foregrounding non-objective art. The works of eminent abstractionists VS Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, Rajendra Dhawan, Ambadas and Ganesh Haloi have been shown in the gallery's exhibitions.

Instead of chasing famous artists, Mala has searched for good, new, experimental artists painting abstracts, with a command over their language. Many of her young artists like John Tun Sein, Shalina Vichitra, Yogendra Tripathi and Harshavardhana have become well-known names in the art scene. They have introduced a note of freshness in their abstractions, in the way they use colour and texture.

The other area of Mala's interests has been textiles. Art.Motif has mounted some stimulating exhibitions involving textiles, which have left a deep impression. One of the exhibitions in recent times that caused great excitement was Renuka Reddy's revival of the famous trade textile, hand-painted chintz. Along with examples of her chintz, Reddy documented the history of the technique and its revival. Other major textile shows were Kalamkari by Ajit Das, a Shibori show by Neha Puri Dhir, woven textiles by Tilak Samarawickrema, a Sri Lankan artist and architect, and one of Punjabi Phulkari curated by textile historian Jasleen Dhamija.

Other interesting projects for Mala have been the mounting of genre and medium-based exhibitions. Mala likes to explore the less-trodden path. She has chosen to exhibit artists working with less common mediums like gouache and pastels in a group show. Similarly, she has mounted genre-based group shows like landscapes and drawings.

In her own way, Mala has been able to establish a character and identity of her gallery Art.Motif in the rapidly changing Indian art scene. Unlike many galleries who are still searching for their persona, Art.Motif is sure about the image it wants to project. The viewer knows what to expect– no flamboyance but a quiet, calm pleasure. Mala's trademark is not just the new talent that she discovers but also the atmosphere of contemplation that she creates with her meticulously curated exhibitions.

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