Saturday, November 10, 2012

‘Bombay Bioscope’ by Nilofer Suleman

Bangalore based artist, Nilofer Suleman, (1963, Indore, India) is in Love with India and with each exhibition it grows. Her solo opens at Art Musings in Mumbai is titled ‘Bombay Bioscope’.

Her style juxtaposes the real world on the streets to a softer world where lotuses sprout from any surface, serpents fall asleep daintily in one's hair, and blue-skinned lovers embrace. An introductory note to it elaborates:”Before big screens and Bollywood, there were bioscopes. Beautifully adorned and unassuming, you could peek into them and watch the real world around you disappear, revealing a painted universe. Bombay Bioscope does exactly that…

“Watch Mumbai as we know it dissolve into an older world where stars come to Parsi cafes, dreams are made in old studios, walk through the streets of Chor Bazaar and pick up old crumbling books at Fort; watch a movie in Palace theatre. A celebration of Bombay and all its innocence and beauty, a city that unites and goes on and on and on.”

The artist is inspired by Indian typography and street graphics. Her work is a coalition of styles that weave together a host of Indian influences: animated characters, old and charming lithographs of gods and goddesses hidden away on tin boxes, hilarious misspelt words and matchbox art. Her trademark acrylics draw from a variety of sources from ’70s Bollywood to Mughal miniatures.

In her solo at Art Musings, it’s our beloved kitsch-y city of Mumbai or erstwhile Bombay that has been filtered through her rainbow-hued lens. The 12 works in this show each offer a glimpse of quintessential city settings, from an Irani cafe and golawallah to a lending library and antique shop. Keen followers of her work will spy her favorite mustachioed gentlemen and fish-eyed damsels, here liberally supported by a cast of yesteryear Bollywood stars such as Dilip Kumar and Zeenat Aman.

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