Up close  with art

Alisha Shinde
Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Chatting up Sara Khalafi and Umakant Kanade who are participating in the Art for Concern exhibition.

Art is a language, that we all need to learn and make it our own. One way to do that is to acquaint ourselves with the artworks of established and newer artists by visiting their exhibitions and trying to understand the nuances. The Art for Concern, which will be held in the city on Thursday provides us such opportunity. The works of both established and upcoming artists will be showcased there, giving an opportunity to buy some art and also contribute to charity.

We talk to a few participating artists about the techniques they have used in their artwork and also their inspiration 

Royal tones
Sara Khalafi, who studied art in Iran before coming to India, says that before she started with her ‘Maharaja’ series, she travelled for two years in Rajasthan observing palaces and portraits of the kings and their families. “What really caught my attention was the way the kings in India were dressed. I had not seen anything like that in my homeland. The attire was different, the lifestyle depicted in these portraits was different, and all the kings had this powerful yet blank look,” Khalafi says adding that it was this reason that she decided to start working on the series.

Khalafi points out that initially she concentrated on the kings. But from the past few months, she has started working on the Maharani series depicting the queens too. When asked what intrigues her when it comes to the Indian royalty, she says, “There is a certain way royalty is looked at in general, no matter which country they belong to. But what is distinct is that there are a lot of things depicted in the background, which tell a lot about the era. As far as my art work is concerned, I wanted to isolate the royals as individuals which is why I paint every single element (Maharaja/King) on different canvases with very little in the background.”

Khalafi uses acrylics as well as offset ink to create most of her artworks. “Offset ink is used in printing but what I do is rather than putting it on printing plates, I use it directly on the canvas with a lot of precision. This adds a depth to the image that is created,” she explains. 

She often makes use of gold and silver leaves which definitely add a royal touch to her art. And that is not all. At times she even uses pearls and semi precious stones to embellish her characters. Khalafi proudly says that she knows exactly what she wants her painting to look like once it’s complete. “I can see the final product on the canvas even before I start painting on it. When I start painting, there is no stopping — it is a constant flow of memory and thought.”

Khalafi says that she wants people to notice the details that go in to making a painting. She works with basic colours, mostly black because she believes that colour is not something that creates art, a thought does. 
“Through my series, I want to show a different side of the powerful kings and portray the emotions that they felt. They must have felt lonely and sad yet all the portraits that we see of them are standing tall and proud,” she says. 

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