Art and architecture

Ambika Shaligram
Tuesday, 6 June 2017

If artists and architects collaborate regularly, then a lot of young artists will get work. Plus, it would be great if they get a chance to represent their work at the local level,” says Raju Sutar as he sums up his art work — Ganjifa on Glass — for a residential project designed by architect Hemant Mahajan.

Artist Raju Sutar has collaborated with architect Hemant Mahajan for his Ganjifa on Glass series. It will be showcased at a residential project

If artists and architects collaborate regularly, then a lot of young artists will get work. Plus, it would be great if they get a chance to represent their work at the local level,” says Raju Sutar as he sums up his art work — Ganjifa on Glass — for a residential project designed by architect Hemant Mahajan.

Always enchanted with the circular form of ganjifa (a card game), Sutar began sketching them when he was in art school. “I used to go to Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum everyday and sketch the cards there. Later, I also went to Sawantwadi, which has given royal patronage to the artists who hand paint ganjifa cards. I observed their work and also learnt to play the game. In 2010, I actually started working on the format,” explains Sutar.

The project, which is a part of Sutar’s ‘absolute’ series, is his take on the art form. Says he, “I haven’t drawn Dashavtar (traditional form of the card game) but abstract, which is my forte. I showcased it at Kochi Biennale too. I drew 100 ganjifas on paper.”

What is exciting about the ganjifa is its circular form. “As per Western theories taught in art school, our compositions shouldn’t focus in the centre. It should be off-centered. But when you take a circle, you have no choice but to focus your composition in the centre. In Indian art, the circular form has been widely used. The space has been used interestingly. And that’s what hooked me to the art form,” he adds.

At the residential project, where his work will be showcased, the ganjifas made on glass will be part of a three-floor wall. “The wall has holes in it, from which light emanates. This is where the ganjifas will be showcased. So this project of mine also involves working with light,” says Sutar.

The artist is also full of praise for Mahajan. “Mahajan has always collaborated with artists, one of the few architects to do so. He is involved with the art design, right from the beginning and also establishes a dialogue with the artist. This is how we should be working,” adds Sutar.

May it be the beginning of more such collaborations!

Follow the writer on Twitter @riceandpickle

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