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Jagannath Panda’s new exhibition: Observations, memories, imaginations

From photographs to sculptures and canvas, Jagannath Panda’s new exhibition is a play of mediums and craft

Jagannath Panda’s new exhibition: Observations, memories, imaginations

Gardener of the World. Courtesy: Vadehra Art Gallery and the artist



Monica Arora

‘Echoes of Unfathomed Worlds’, artist Jagannath Panda’s latest show, currently on at the Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi, is a curation of 26 works that vary in mediums and scale and include a plethora of ideas in the visual narrative.

Jagannath Panda explores what lies beyond the realms of predictable vision.

The name, ‘Echoes of Unfathomed Worlds’, evokes curiosity and excitement as it encompasses the known and the unknown. The artist’s curiosity is piqued not just by the world around us, but also the world that exists in all of us, that is invisible or undefined.

Gardener of the World-II

Born in Bhubaneswar in 1970, Delhi-based Panda’s artistic journey commenced with a Bachelor in Fine Arts at the BK College of Arts & Crafts in 1991, followed by a Masters from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda. He followed it up with an MFA in sculpture from the Royal College of Arts, London, in 2002. The much-feted artist has participated in significant shows in India and around the world and the ability to evoke emotions through his art is his forte.

Curves and Continuum-I

As the artist opines, “Observations, memories and imaginations play an important role in my work. That which is unfathomable is a part of me and this show brings that internal world to a living, thriving world.”

From photographs to sculptures and canvas, the exhibition is a potpourri of experiments with mediums and craft that span a multitude of materials and memories. On display are installations in acrylic, plywood, papier mache, paper collage, pencil, glue, ink, along with pigment, wallpaper and fabric. Then there is acrylic, fabric and glue on canvas in this enamouring collection.

According to Panda, “My art has less to do with medium and more to do with the source from where it derives a language, or what it finally presents in front of its viewer. I collect discarded objects. For instance, plastic toys discarded by my son became an important material in my art. They relate to his childhood memories while conveying the historicity of plastic and toys. The multiplicity in the materials’ historic engagement adds to my aesthetic oeuvre, where my art presents a much deeper insight into the material. The history of the object acquired through the collective and personal memories is now intertwined.”

As an audience, one can’t help but notice a spiritual and meditational aspect to the works, which encapsulate day-to-day living and a larger scheme of things. We ask the artist if this inspiration is drawn from traditional Hindu philosophies of destiny… “Yes, Hindu mythologies and theologies are important to my belief and art, but for me, this is less of a philosophical engagement. It is a practice that has in some ways found a visual form.”

Engaging with structures and forms and presenting a multitude of hues and unravelling of forms and patterns, the works make us reflect on the aspects of the material world and the spiritual aspect of life.

As an artist, Panda examines existence with a lens on the past and then interprets the present. Time, to him, is essential as it encompasses continuity. “The past is particularly important in addressing the present and setting things in motion for them to happen in future. I have used space and architecture to ponder over the past and the present. I have used my memories to bring out a rational visual narrative to look at time. My art is constantly exploring the layers of memories in my present state,” he says.

Thought-provoking ponderings are seamlessly woven into the tapestry of Jagannath Panda’s oeuvre. His open-mindedness is reflected in his views on AI-generated art. He finds it extremely interesting with “innovative tendencies that cannot be imagined and, yet, they are a byproduct of our imaginations”.

On till January 19


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