Saturday, May 18, 2013

An artist’s fascination for football

Interestingly, Alok Bal dreamt of becoming a football player but failed to pursue his passion owing to unavoidable turn of events. Not disheartened, he opted to reflect his love for the game on canvas that captured its beauty and the human skills involved. Apart from painting ‘two feet poetry’, he started a football academy in 2007 in Baroda (XYZ Football Club) to encourage aspiring footballers. He has been playing football since his childhood. Terming this ‘beautiful game’ a way of life, he feels it’s more than just a sport – rather a philosophy and every sportsman a philosopher.

After his fascinating football series (‘Football Fever’; Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai), he produced ‘Black Landscape’ in 2007 that touched upon another facet of his artistic quest. Ironically, while on the one hand, individualism is on the rise, one’s identity is under threat, as the artist wants to bring to our notice. His landscapes refer to the self-inflicted problems arising from unplanned development.

They comment in a lighter vein on our tendency to manipulate the surroundings, regardless of the ill effects. Urban growth, resulting from blatant manipulation of natural resources and the resultant changes in ecology is inextricably linked to the very roots of human existence. He prompts the viewer to contemplate over issues that bear immediate significance and future consequences.

At a broader level, the artistic realm that Alok Bal depicts is materialistic to the core wherein the central characters are often effigies of voyeurism and egotism. This vicious world, often overlooked by most of us, is portrayed in-depth by this sensitive and observant artist who peeps into complexities of relationships; between people and their immediate surroundings.

Metaphorical usage of flying dainty figures, serene colors, the scratches and the realistically done attributes are all skillfully stitched together in his compositions that exude lyrical sophistication, hiding beneath it insecurities of self-existence. He raises a question mark the place and space of the individual lost in a city.

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