Yusuf Contemporary launch scheduled for Oct 8th, 2010.
19th October 2010
Reviewed by James Brewer (www.globalnewsbox.com)
Edgware Road in London leads to... well, Edgware, but just before it runs its course it leads to a new art gallery that has just opened in a most unexpected setting. As this unlovely highway feeds its thundering traffic into Burnt Oak and other northern suburbs, it passes on the left a Mercedes Benz showroom and on the right one of the spacious depots of fci , a company which adopts lower case lettering for its logo, but upper case lifestyle in interior design.
It is the furniture store that has taken up a role in the art world. This emporium of sofas, sideboards, wall panelled units, kitchens, beds and extendable tables of more than a score of designer brands, has become the home of a comfortably-sized commercial art gallery. Turn right once you are deep into the store, and the space is dedicated to Yusuf Contemporary, which is going to stage 10 exhibitions a year of paintings, sculpture, multimedia and installations.
How did the gallery come to be here? It is the result of a chance meeting between art entrepreneur Khozema Patanwala and art enthusiast Firdaus Nagree, director of fci. In its inaugural exhibition, appropriately entitled Birth, there are 52 works on display. These reflect the strategy of promoting works predominantly by Asian, and particularly Indian, artists.
Within this mandate, the first show exudes originality and variety. Among the standouts are two works by an artist known simply as Nurjan, of British/Turkish Cypriot/Pakistani heritage. She applies many tiny Swarovski crystals to mirrors, with stunning effect, fusing ancient Islamic and Western influences.
Manoj Sinha, who lives and works in the city of Baroda in Gujarat, took seven months to paint in acrylics an epic canvas of socio-religious comment, entitled My Maha Bharata – The Agony and the Ecstasy of Mother India. He sets dramatic episodes from today’s India in the context of the 1.8m word Sanskrit poem which insists “One should not abandon dharma (righteousness) at any cost.” In the largest work of this exhibition, dozens of characters – the poor, members of the untouchable castes, the middle classes, holy men, entertainers, troops beating protesters, tribal people, an archbishop -- mill about, raising their eyes to heaven or to the viewer, seeking salvation, or our sympathy. Intricate detail enthralls our eyes and makes it hard to turn away.
London-based Sheila Malhotra shows three of her works of oil and mixed media inspired by her earlier days voyaging on merchant navy ships, accompanying her husband, a cargo ship master. She developed the novel theme of painting the world through a porthole, for her the only liberating link between a ship cabin and the outside world. The result is a delightfully surprisingsurrealism of the sea, with artefacts of the maritime world floating into vision in a graceful or even ghostly manner.
Khozema Patanwala sees investment in Indian art, as yet only lightly, appreciated on the international scene, as one of the next big things. This launch, with works so rich in colour, drama and depth, should help set this ball rolling.
Yusuf Contemporary gallery, FCI House, Edgware Road, Colindale, London NW9.
My Maha Bharata - The agony and ecstasy of Mother India.
By Manoj Sinha
Courtesy: Yusuf Contemporary Art Gallery
Yusuf Contemporary Art Gallery Launches in London
September 23, 2010 - Press Dispensary - A new art gallery named Yusuf Contemporary (http://www.yusuf-contemporary-art.co.uk ) is opening in Colindale, North London, to showcase the heartfelt works of Indian, contemporary artists. The gallery will launch with its first exhibition, aptly named ‘Birth’, in October 2010. The exhibition will be open to the public from 9 October, 2010, while a private viewing will take place on 8 October from 5pm to 9pm by invitation.
Curator Khozema Patanwala forecasts prosperity through appreciation of real Asian artists
The Yusuf Contemporary gallery will present genuine Indian contemporary art by young and established artists from India and the sub continent. The gallery is named after two Yusufs who are significant to its founders: the son of curator, Khozema Patanwala, and the grandfather of his business partner, Firdaus Nagree. The inside cover of a book to promote the gallery will depict the dates of birth for its two namesakes: 21 July, 2009 and 21 May, 1921.
‘Birth: Paintings by Visionary Contemporary Indian Artists’ will feature a diverse selection of works that showcase Indian contemporary art at its best. Exhibiting artists include: Jaideep Mehrotra, Suresh Sharma, Tirthankar Biswas, Manohar Chiluveru, Shailesh Patel, Surendra Dhumal, Zahoor Ahmed, K. Parmar, Sarang Fadnis, Rohit Patel, Brijesh Upadhyay, Usha Pathak, Sheila Malhotra, Radha Binod Sharma, Samar Singh Thakur and Sumitava Maity.
Through their artworks, each artist expresses their personal responses to reality, conflict, myth, culture and identity. Spiritual approaches coincide with more cynical takes on growing materialism as the artists combine social concern with a celebratory appreciation of Indian mythology and devotion. Tradition and modernity collide to produce works of intensely subjective originality.
Thakur's preoccupation with the female form in abstract, metaphysical environments raises the question of women's role in Indian society and the stereotypes surrounding them. Sarang Fadnis explores organic and expressive patterns using vibrant colours inspired by botanical, natural forms. An exploration into the pure, abstract realm of form, space and colour characterises the paintings of Suresh Sharma. Luminous areas of colour within architectonic geometric structures infuse the works with a vitality that transcends subject matter. The figures in Biswas's paintings are fleeting and monumental. They seem to emerge from the sea in states of transfiguration like private deities from the artist's imagination. Chiluveru's abstract works combine with figurative elements to reflect man's conflict with the self and his environment, depicting gestural energies in imaginary, exotic landscapes inspired by his native. The thrust of Usha Pathak’s brush strokes is strong, bold and passionate. Her ability to achieve a rhythmic movement in the painting creates a “mysterious affinity” in her work of art, which moves the minds and hearts of spectators.
The exhibition conveys a strong sense of nostalgia and isolation as a result of urbanisation eroding the natural beauty and cultural traditions of the cities in which the artists live. They work between worlds – the world of mythology and that of current advancing technologies.
Khozema Patanwala comments: “As demonstrated by our ‘Birth’ exhibition, Yusuf Contemporary will support artists who embrace the rich Indian culture and heritage and bring it out in their work - whether through the mediums of paint, sculpture, multimedia or digital art. We aim to bring more Indian artists to the international scene.”
He adds: “Tremendous potential currently exists in Indian art as an investment. One of my uncles told me ‘art is the tail of prosperity’ and his quote has stuck with me ever since. With India set to become a super power, art will follow suit. However, the issues I see are transparency and fake works floating in the market which serve to lower demand for Indian art for the foreign buyers. 90% of the buyers for indian art are Indians. I would like to see more international collectors taking a keen interest in Indian art as there is tremendous talent and potential in Indian artists.
“We’re currently showcasing young, Indian, contemporary artists whose works I’ve personally selected by visiting India and attending exhibitions there. We aim to maintain completely transparent relationships with our artists, collectors and clients and we’ll only deal with truly original works.”
Khozema points out that several art investment funds are betting on next-generation Indian artists and that the return on investment on some Indian artwork has, in some cases, reached 2,000% since 2005. Meanwhile, the Indian art market is currently the fourth most buoyant art market in the world. Indian artists who have seen the prices of their works spiral during the last half decade include Subodh Gupta, F.N. Souza, M. F. Hussain, S. H. Raza, Krishnamachari Bose, Shailesh Patel and many more.
For invitations to the private view, please contact Khozema Patanwala at the numbers below.
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