An Awesome Collection

Updated: Jan 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbais best-known art centre, has put together a grand finale for its golden jubilee celebrations. The Said & The Unsaid, scheduled from January 21-28, has been put together by the Chennai based Apparao Galleries.

Sharan Apparao is curating the show. She describes this as an exhibition of paintings by artists who have contributed to seminal trends, and captured movements in the history of painting in India. The impressive list is headed by Raja Ravi Varma, and goes on to name stalwarts like Amrita Shergil, Anjolie Ela Menon, Atul Dodiya, M F Husain, Manjeet Bawa, Jamini Roy, Jitish Kallat, Bhupen Kakkar, Ganesh Pyne, Jehangir Sabavala and Tyeb Mehta. The event traces Indian painting in all its tradition, culture, style and media, with its lineage chronologically from the 19th century.

It has taken eight months to curate this show, and even as one speaks to the curator, the last-minute preparations progress at a furious pace. It is a prestigious show for Apparao Galleries. I have been in the business of art for around 19 years, Sharan Apparao says. Still, this is an important event. Also, an extensive collection had to be coordinated from private collectors and transported all the way to Mumbai. The logistics are mind-boggling. She informs us that there are 130 works in all, done by 70 distinguished artists. Some of them have never been exhibited before. We have a fabulous 10x5 by Akbar Padamsee, which was done in 1970, and a 4x4 Raza. Also, there are hitherto unseen works by Krishan Khanna, Nirode Mazumdar and KCS Panicker. That is probably what contributes the unsaid factor to the title of the show.

However, for all this effort, The Said & The Unsaid only has a week to impress Mumbai. Ms Apparao also wishes they had more time, but an extension is unlikely to materialise. Really, this is an awesome collection. Such a grand show does call for a lengthier viewing period. But we will make the most of what we have! she smiles. I am glad for the opportunity to present the finale of Jehangirs golden jubilee. She says she had curated a retro for the gallery last year, which means they are happy with her work.