Thursday, September 6, 2012

Multiverses rooted both in historical fact and fiction

Rather like the notes of ‘The Waste Land’, Gulammohammed Sheikh’s works should come with footnotes and references.

Much like the poem (which is now widely regarded as incomplete without footnotes) however, the multitude of images, stories, lives and times in his works speak in several voices and in a multitude of languages, underlined by the choices, or rather the non-choices of their author, and communicate the rhythmed nuance or structure.

These permeate the multiverses he creates within the visual image itself. Thus observes New York based writer Renuka Sawhney, reviwing his works on the eve of a recent group show.

‘The world as it came to me, however, came almost invariably manifold, plural or at least dual in form. In art, painting came in the company of poetry and images from life lived, from other times, from painting, sometimes from literature, and often from nowhere, emerging together through scribbled drawings and words. The multiplicity and simultaneity of these worlds filled me with a sense of being part of them all. Attempts to define the experience in singular terms have left me uneasy and restless; absence of rejected worlds has haunted me throughout.’

For the artist, the experience of living and working in India carries an additional resonance. He says, “… (It) means living simultaneously in several cultures and times. One often walks into “medieval” situations, and runs into “primitive” people. The past exists as a living entity alongside the present, each illuminating and sustaining the other.

“As times and cultures converge, the citadels of purism explode. Traditional and modern, private and public, the inside and outside continually telescope and reunite. The kaleidoscopic flux of images engages me to construe structures in the process of being created. Like the many-eyed and many-armed archetype of an Indian child, soiled with multiple visions, I draw my energy from the source.”

He has created multiverses that are rooted in historical fact and fiction. Influenced by Sienese painting which was, ‘…an act of love offered with tenderness, humility, and passionate conviction.

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