Inspired by surroundings
- Padma Jayaraj
Photos courtesy the artist

November 19, 2014

We live in an age which has a tendency for intellectual mode of expression. Abstraction and symbolism in arts have taken us away from our surroundings where life is a lived experience. Kailas R. Jadhav, a Mumbai based artist, stands firmly rooted in the soil in the exhibition of his paintings, ‘Inspiration of surroundings’ in Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (Oct 22 – 28, 2014). Most of the paintings, acrylic on canvas and watercolors on paper, deal with humanscapes culled from everyday reality and landmarks that he has come across during his travels.

The songs of life evoke nostalgia especially in the paintings of childhood joys untarnished by the hard lot of life. Girl and boy color the canvas against the backdrop of water, alone or in company. Building castles where the sea ravages the shore, sending paper boats on sail or just splashing in waters are real as well as symbolic in the larger canvas of life. The sea is a charming presence in his oeuvre, the shades of blue and white tinted by violet of the sky and the waves creating a harmony like music.

The paper boats of childhood are transformed into fishing boats showcasing the transition of life into adulthood and its hard lot. In a unique painting, the girl sending bubbles from a window of an apartment seems to have grown into a woman whose back is turned to the viewer. She too is looking to the world beyond, but she seems to be very much like a prisoner caught within a bedroom, very much like the fruits kept nearby. It is the tragic tale of what happens to a woman whose soul and mind is devalued in a society that knows only to consume. Of course, there are paintings where girls on the swing and women in a gathering enjoy other shades of life. But her burden refuses to disappear. An old woman with a heavy load on her head walking through the alleyway evidently to sell things is the other side of the coin where you come across the wrinkled brow of a hardworking man. The portrait of an old farmer from Rajasthan against its historical forts is the story of real life without romance. From childhood we journey through adulthood to reach the inevitable old age.

Travel is perhaps, the romance of life. Historical sites, religious ghats, pilgrim centers, all part of the vista of life invite viewers of different interests. They are the havens along the trail of life. On the whole the pictures paint an Indian panorama.

Without curating, an art show tends to become a haphazard collection of pictures. Proper thematic arrangement would have lent a deeper meaning to an artist’s understanding of life and to the exhibition.

Padma Jayaraj is a freelance writer on the arts and travel. She is a regular contributor to