Tag Archives: artist

Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush by Anita Vachharajani. Illustrations by Kalyani Ganapathy

Rebel with a Paintbrush Title: Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush
Author: Anita Vachharajani
Illustrated by: Kalyani Ganapathy
Publisher: HarperCollins India
ISBN: 978-9352774739
Genre: Biographies, Art Biographies
Pages: 184
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

I love Sher-Gil’s work. Almost everything she painted. Every work of art transformed itself in her hands. So there was this one biography of hers which I had read a long time ago, whose author I forget. But this is the one that will stay for a long time to come. I think it is mainly because of the illustrations.

“Rebel with a Paintbrush” very succinctly describes Sher-Gil – as a person, a wife, a lover, and an artist. More than anything, the book is all about her influences and her works of art. The journey of an artist is so well-described that I wished there was more of it.  More than anything else, I am in awe of how she conducted herself and lived life on her terms. Mind you, we are referring to a time when feminism had just taken flight.

This book is about her life, her influences, her education, the growing-up years and her determination and passion toward her art. It is also about the story behind the artist – about the rebel and the dreamer, her loves and longing and what shaped her both as an artist and woman.

Anita Vachharajani’s take on it may not seem new, but the writing is fresh and important. Also the beautiful reprints of Sher-Gil’s work along with the original illustrations by Kalyani Ganapathy make it more than worthwhile to pick this brief biography. I loved how Anita has looked at every aspect of Amrita’s life and ensured that nothing is missed. I can only imagine how she must’ve managed it but the result is quite a treat for someone who has an interest in art and wants to understand more about Amrita Sher-Gil – her life and work. Do read this book. Won’t take too much of your time and a perfect one for the monsoons.

Conversations in the Nude by Mihir Srivastava

Conversations in the Nude by Mihir Srivastava Title: Conversations in the Nude
Author: Mihir Srivastava
Publisher: Harper Collins India
ISBN: 9789350296738
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 178
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

It is a strange concept if you hear of it the first time round. I did not find it strange though. To me, it felt just as normal as eating, when I thought of it. It is about being sketched in the nude. That is what this book is about – aptly titled, “Conversations in the Nude” by Mihir Srivastava.

I had my designs on the book from the time I heard of it and I could not wait to get my hands on it. “Conversations in the Nude” might start on a quick note, but after a while, you just have to stop reading, close the book and think a little.

I had to do that only because the book is intense and at the same time, there were moments I thought the author was trying too hard. I was proved wrong eventually, but the thought did cross my mind. Some readers could also be quick to judgment – but I think it is about opening your mind and reading the book – after all it is about sketching nudes and Mihir’s experiences around them.

The people the author meets are spectacularly different – from a wrestler to a hermit who has renounced the world (and not so) to friends who want to pose and people who hesitate and yet decide to pose to celebrities as well. For me, while reading the book, what stood out the most was the different reactions Mihir had to face, as and when he propositioned people to pose nude for him. I think that in all totality, reflects the times we live in and how we behave and think when confronted with situations that have the so-called high moral ground attached to them.

“Conversations in the Nude” does not try to make a statement. It just says what it has to – both from the perspective of a writer and that of an artist. That is what I loved most about the book. Mihir is caught sometimes – between perception, judgment and also opinions of others. Maybe that is what actually allows him to sketch the way he does.

The sketches in the book are another story. I saw them while reading the book and also looked at them without going through the text. There is this rawness to the sketches which perhaps defines the entire book. There would also be I assume a certain nonchalant attitude to have to be able to sketch the way Mihir does – the sense to abandon all emotion and desire and sometimes also giving in.

“Conversations in the Nude” is a different book. It is a book which must be read without prejudice. It is an experience that will make you look at things differently – the body, the mind and maybe even the soul.

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