It was an unforgettably harmonious play between Indian pop culture, calendar art, street life, melodious exchange between the surreal and the fantastic, between concrete structures, birds, animals and hybrid people with oval faces and animal legs. And so engaging were the compositions by noted NRI painter Haren Vakil that his exhibition at Mumbai’s Hacienda Art Gallery on December 4 had visitors asking for more.
The large number of the city’s celebrity visitors included artists of the likes of Samir Mondal, Amisha Mehta, Priti Kyal, Sumita Acharya, Jenny Bhatt, art curator Jasmine Shah Varma, art ethusiast and writer Shloka Chhabria, art connoisseur Sandy Gupta who dropped in with his daughter Mhaika, head of Reliance Retail Peshwa Acharya and many others appeared awed and bewildered by Haren’s oeuvre, which clearly had a method to the apparent chaos on the canvas.
What impressed the visitors was the effortless ease with which Haren balanced the elements from various strands of life in an orderly fashion in his noticeably structured compositions, including the lines, the colours and the balance of elements. It was the wit and humour in the treatment of his subject, the way he made facial features and postures and the balance of restraint and freedom – which came across distinctly through the works – that was most highly appreciated by the guests and connoisseurs.
“My work is rooted in the surreal and the fantastic. It is influenced by my background in architecture, my interest in music, especially jazz, and my experience of various cultures, East and West. My intent is to produce images which evoke wonder, surprise and amusement,” when asked about the inspiration and motivation behind his art.