It was a Friday and Noida's TGIP mall was buzzing with shoppers. Couples swinging colourful shopping bags, teenagers clicking selfies, children squealing with joy on the mall toy bus, but there was a collective head turner in the mall that day — a mini art gallery, in the mall atrium, cordoned off with red velvet ropes and opulent gold poles.
This may not be the India Habitat Centre, but for these five days (Jan 25-29) it gave art-starved Noidaites a reason to hit the mall for other than shopping or movies.
Noida’s TGIP and Garden Galleria played host to the works of artists Izhar Alam, Hem Jyotika, Reena Singh and Lalit Mohan Pant. Dubbed Xpressions of Contemporary Times, the exhibition was a blend of several parallel themes of feminism, spirituality, nature and human quirks.
Mohan Lalit Pant’s monochromatic displays on nature and its personification
Recipient of the Sahitya Kala Parishad award, Lalit Mohan Pant’s displays were monochromatic and delved into the theme of nature and its personification. He elaborated, “I like depicting the mysteries of nature, and I like to personify it in my art. It is both mystical and spiritual.”
But why pick Noida for an exhibition?
The Yamuna Vihar-based artist quickly responded, “I strongly believe that art must be made available to the masses. These malls have a lot of footfall, so why not?”
Painter Izhar Alam's artworks showcase aspects of everyday life, but from a quirky point of view
Painter Izhar Alam, also from Yamuna Vihar, depicted performers in a single body form — and they were all quirky. Some of his works also showcased the lower-middle-class man and scenes of everyday life around him.
The pulsating, multifaceted city of Benaras formed the backdrop of Dwarka-based Reena Singh’s paintings. Her artwork captureed the changing moods of the deeply spiritual city in the dominant hues of red.
Dwarka-based Reena Singh’s paintings depict the changing moods of the deeply spiritual city of Benaras
Patparganj-based Hem Jyotika’s work revolved around women and gender-relevant themes. Her political sensitivities emerged through her art, which, of late, had acquired prominent graphic qualities. She said, “The women in my art possess a sense of identity — they are in control. She wants to realise her potential as a person.” Interestingly, this feminist artist said she believed Noida has more buying potential than Delhi. “Noida is home to people from all strata," she added. "The middle class is rising — it’s developing a taste for art. We received such a great response from these malls, where people came to shop and ended up buying art. Curiously enough, the kids got hooked to the paintings.”
Patparganj-based Hem Jyotika’s work revolves around gender-based themes
City Spidey caught up with a few who came to shop, but ended up witnessing art.
Said Pratyusha Shah of Sector 21, “It’s nice really — to land up at an art exhibition in the middle of shopping. Since I am also a painter, the exhibition gave me a chance to look at what other artists are doing, something that’s really rare in Noida. We should have more such exhibitions in the city for art lovers — and for everyone else.”
Artist Lalit Mohan Pant and Hem Jyotika, with the exhibition curator Jasleen in front of an Izhar Alam work
Many felt such exhibitions should be made a recurrent feature of Noida’s not-so-happening cultural life. Mrs Anjum, from Sector 25, who was taken in by Jyotika’s work, made a similar point, “We never get to see much art in the city. With these artists taking the lead, I hope more will follow.”
Even for those who didn’t really understand art, the exhibition was a hit — as it happened with Indirapuram resident Suman Lata. She explained, “I didn’t understand much of what was on display, but it surely was a breather after so much of shopping. I am not much into art, but I don’t mind buying something for my house. But it’s certainly nice to see artists coming to the city with their work.”