Kalagram | Celebrating Indian Villages
Kalagram is a unique exhibition that celebrates Indian villages. This exhibition symbolizes Bharat, its people, and a wide spectrum, including religion, spirituality, way of living, language, costume, culture, folk arts, architecture, community living, festivals, music, commerce, sustainable biodiversity, and, above all, spreads the message of love and humanity to the world. We are not talking about something that came into existence 200 or 500 years ago; we are talking about the society that built itself more than 2500 years ago. This must be celebrated.
These portraits, landscapes, streetscapes, and villagescapes document the journey from the modern art of the 1950s to the cutting-edge contemporary art of 2023, serving as a testament to the growth and development of rural Bharat and Indian art. This collection also encapsulates the attitude of overcoming adversity, living a simple lifestyle, consuming unadulterated food, being self-sufficient in resource use, leading an exemplary life.
The figurative, surreal, and conceptual art evokes nostalgia for carnival, brotherhood, childhood, fearlessness, and the good old times. Some of these works depict the significant roles women play in the family, from working in the fields to nurturing children, grandmothers sharing stories, and the worship of nature through cultivation, animals, land, the sun, and the moon. Through materials such as terracotta, stainless steel plates, paper, bronze, wood, textiles, and fibre, the show is composed in a way that allows you to appreciate the variety that an Indian village offers. The exhibition provides an experience of serenity, happiness, and abundant peace.
A century ago, the great Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The soul of India lives in the villages.’ In the 21st century, as urbanization continues to grow rapidly, the charm of Indian villages is expanding even more. You can take an Indian out of their village, but you can’t take the village out of an Indian. Preserving, conserving, and passing on our Virasat to the next generation is one of the major roles played by arts and culture. Bringing it to life through this exhibition, as part of the Rann Utsav, which has been instrumental in introducing Dhordo village to the world, makes it even more special.”
Curated by: Chaitya Dhanvi Shah
Photos and Text © Chaitya Dhanvi Shah