Art exhibition in Chennai showcases different interpretations of the tree of life motif

The ‘Tree of Life’ exhibition at Gallery Veda features the works of 12 artists, as part of the gallery’s 10th anniversary celebrations

The ‘Tree of Life’ exhibition at Gallery Veda features the works of 12 artists, as part of the gallery’s 10th anniversary celebrations

Markrana White Marble is the canvas. Inside, there is the black mother-of-pearl of the shells, arranged to form the Tree of Life. As the artwork shimmers, echoing Indo-Islamic architecture, there is an underlying motif of a leopard staring at you.

Zunnurain Ahmed Pathan, based in Baroda, who created the stone inlay piece or Pacchikari art, says, “The tree of life is a very famous motif in all religions and cultures and is a symbol of communal harmony. .. The leopard is the surprise. element. I use art as a means of expressing the environment in which we live.

This piece is one of many unique interpretations of the Tree of Life featured in Veda Gallery’s current art exhibition featuring the work of 12 artists, as part of the gallery’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

Piece by Baroda-based Zunnurain artist Ahmed Pathan in stone inlay

Piece by Baroda-based artist Zunnurain Ahmed Pathan in stone inlay | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Almost all cultures have this universal archetype: the tree representing life, wisdom and enlightenment that connects the three worlds – the one above, the earth and the beyond. This sort of cosmic connector has been interpreted in countless ways across cultures and has different meanings and depictions in ancient artwork. However, the artists approach it here from a philosophical and political point of view.

The exhibition is curated by artist Annapurna Madipadiga and features artworks, installations and paintings.

Jaipur-based artist Vijay Sharma says he tries to preserve our cultural heritage with his work, which focuses on royalty. “Culture and heritage are our roots, as is royalty. And nature and culture are linked, without which life is incomplete,” he says. Titled “Reboot Series”, the paintings feature the royalty of old filled with the opulence and flourishing of the royal class and juxtapose it with elements of nature.

One cannot separate the art from the artist in Vijay’s work. While the paintings depict royalty, with motifs from nature, plants and animals, there is also a miniature version of the artist on the canvas. “I’m curious when it comes to heritage and culture and often get lost when admiring art. And that’s why I painted myself on the canvas,” he says.

Oil on canvas by artist Lal Bahadur Singh titled 'Upvan'

Oil on canvas by artist Lal Bahadur Singh titled ‘Upvan’ | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Annapurna says she chose this theme because she wanted to give a new dimension to the ubiquitous symbol of the Tree of Life. Curating art has been a learning experience, says Annapurna who has studied the concept of the tree of life for a long time. “It’s a motif seen in almost all cultures and connecting them. We saw it being interpreted in a traditional format. I wanted to bring a new perspective and interpret it through different artistic mediums.”

Each artist’s work is different and based on their life experiences. They used the environment from which they come, the landscape in which they live, mixing elements of culture, tradition and nature.

“It’s a concept that is very close to me. The exhibition is more like a response to the many problems created by man and the need to reconnect with nature. I hope that by seeing the art, the people will be able to connect with nature and feel the need to protect the trees. I selected artists from different parts of the country to bring a new perspective to this concept,” says Annapurna.

The art exhibition features artists from Delhi, Jaipur, Baroda, Kerala, Auroville and Chennai. It’s until November 3.

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