The Tree of Life is a concept that has transcended time and cultures, representing a symbolic motif with religious and philosophical significance. In India, the Tree of Life, known as Kalpavriksha, is deeply rooted in Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain texts. To celebrate this timeless theme, MKF Museum of Art and ArtenBlu have collaborated to present the Kalpavriksha exhibition. Curated by Sadhna Menon, this show features the works of seven talented artists, each providing their unique interpretation of the Tree of Life.
Sadhna Menon, the founder of ArtenBlu, shares her excitement about reviving traditional art forms deeply embedded in Indian culture. She believes that rediscovering textile art, by blending traditional techniques with contemporary ideas, is a powerful and empowering journey. The Tree of Life was chosen as the central theme due to its universal presence in almost all cultures.
One of the participating artists, Sachin Deo, has dedicated his artistic career to exploring mythological and spiritual themes. For this exhibition, Deo has expressed himself through the art of paper folding and embossing. His pieces convey the various stages of spiritual growth, and he has spent the past six months meticulously creating these three-dimensional forms. Originally from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Deo’s work reflects spirituality and contentment, often using a mild and minimalistic palette. While he has experimented with various mediums in the past, he has recently delved into the world of embossing and paper techniques.
Artist Varsha Patra has taken a different approach to depict the Tree of Life, utilizing Aari (also known as Khatla) embroidery techniques. Patra’s interpretation of the concept is evident in her diverse pieces, with the idea, format, theory, design, and colors largely inspired by the traditional crafts of India. She embraces the age-old technique of Khatla hand embroidery to bring her ideas to life on fabric.
V Hariraam, an abstractionist and another artist showcasing his work, leans towards incorporating a certain level of figuration in his art expression. As an abstract painter who evolved from figuration, Hariraam presents two works referencing the Tree of Life. His fellow artist, AM Prakash, contributes line drawings that add decorative and design value to the exhibition.
Hariraam, a Bengaluru-based artist, received his education at the prestigious Kalamandir School of Art, founded by AN Subbarao, a reputable artist and visionary. Hariraam’s artistic journey began with oils and later expanded to acrylics. Over time, he has explored watercolors, charcoal, pencil on paper, and canvas. Additionally, he experiments with installation art using wood and fiberglass and is skilled in graphic printmaking. For this exhibition, Hariraam has submitted miniatures created with watercolors on archival paper, inspired by the Tree of Life, which he crafted during the pandemic.
Sadhna Menon expresses her admiration for the phenomenal body of work created by these seven artists, each drawing inspiration from the Tree of Life. Through their experimentation with various mediums, they bring a classic yet modern twist to the theme. Alongside Sachin Deo, V Hariraam, and AM Prakash, artists Varsha Patra, Manjunath Wali, Mohan Vijaya Raghavan, and Choti Tekam will also be exhibiting their art at Kalpavriksha.
The Kalpavriksha – Tree of Life exhibition will be open for viewing at the MKF Museum of Art from October 13th to 22nd, between 11 am and 6:30 pm, excluding Mondays. Visitors can immerse themselves in the captivating interpretations of the Tree of Life by these talented artists and witness the fusion of traditional and contemporary art forms.