Ajmer-based artist captures the myriad nuances of Krishna
When Krishna is your muse, said Ajmer-based artist Ashok Hazra, the art that captures the myriad nuances of this blue-skinned deity is bound to be both enigmatic and spiritual. And inspired by the Srinathji form of Krishna in Nathdwara of Rajasthan, Hazra is all set to showcase a solo show of paintings titled Krishna - The Enigma at Gallerie Ganesha in the capital.
"I am deeply fascinated by Krishna, in whom I find great relevance for even the contemporary world," said Hazra, the eighth child of a family that moved from Lahore to Midnapore, West Bengal post Partition, "Krishna's flexibility, adaptability, statesmanship and courage in the face of any challenge inspired me both as a person and as an artist," he added.
Hazra discovered his love for the dark-coloured God during one of his visits to Ramkrishna Mission in Paharganj, New Delhi, just as he was himself struggling to cope with the challenges of making ends meet during his college days.
"I have been supporting myself since I was in Class 9," revealed Hazra, who studied BFA at Delhi College of Art. "My elder brother Dilip Hazra was also an artist but he could hardly paint because he was in a government job. I did not want to be restricted by bureaucratic hassles so I moved to Ajmer to teach art at Mayo College." Hazra was at Mayo College from 1977 to 2008.
Before Hazra began painting for "Krishna - The Enigma," he had won great acclaim for his work on fantasy in which he tried to express and give form to the dreams and visions of his youth. His Clown series which poignantly told the hidden stories behind a clown's life was also equally popular.
"I used to visit the circus in Ramlila Grounds as a child and again what struck me about clowns is how they hold the whole act together with their mischief and flamboyance even though their life is not so easy." He then went on to work with the ever popular Ganesha, the elephant headed god, and began working on Krishna in 1998.
"Changes in forms and themes remain a part of the process, but the underlying note or mood in all my works is the feel for everything Indian," he said. The 70-year-old painter sticks to no particular school of thought or style and is inspired by the mood and surroundings "as per the moment".
For this series, he has used subtle shades of acrylic to recreate the dark jambul coloured icon, surrounded with cows gazing at him with soulful eyes. These paintings have a calming effect on the mind and soul. The rhythmic brush strokes, the forms and textures, the lines and dots and the layering of colours are all reflective of Hazra's connect with the god himself. Each frame shows the immense soul searching which has gone into giving a body to the enigma of a God.
The exhibition will open on March 23 and will continue at Gallerie Ganesha here till April 18.