‘The Barodagaman 2020’ Art Show in Colombo and Kandy

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 00:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Atul Mahajan - 1.5X2.5 Ft - Pen and ink on paer


‘The Barodagaman 2020’ Art Show will kick off in Colombo from 14 to 15 March at the Lionel Wendt Art Centre with opening ceremony at 6 p.m. on 13 March, followed by in Kandy at Alliance Francoise Gallery from 20 March to 17 April.

Curator - Poornima Weerasinghe

Thematically, the show will be ‘The Barodagaman 2020’. Historically, the timely ‘aagaman’ (arrival) have set trends in culture to take the country one step forward. So the trend of 2020 in Visual Art will be set through the show.  Artists of the Exhibition include Atul Mahajan — Coordinator and Participating Artist; Sandip Pisalkar; Naishadh Jani; Prantik Chattopadhya; Krushnapriya Smart; Dushyant Patel; Prabhakar Alok; Varun CursetJi; Rahul Mukherjee and Sanjeewa Liyanage (Sri Lanka).

All these artists are Masters of Visual Art Graduates of MSU Baroda and are based and continue their art practice in the City of Banyan Trees, Vadodara.

Organisers are also planning to call a larger group of artists from Sri Lanka for the show. The group will comprise of six to 10 visual/performing artists. Date of the Exhibition will be in December to be confirmed. 

The Barodagaman 2020 Curator Poornima Weerasinghe has the following to say:  It was 1950s. It was a decade after the British left their footprint in South Asia. Economy, polity and education was at their own rate, struggling for the own identity. The political and educational renaissance was lacking its essence of identity.

In 1950s Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda established its Faculty of Fine Arts. Initially the Fine Art Department was established within the Engineering Faculty. Later the accumulation of excess of Aesthetic on Technology led the University to establish the Faculty of Fine Art over few decades. The formation of the ‘Baroda’ was a gradual development of knowledge, passion, aesthetic sense and its own style was a unique characteristic.Initially it was a formation of Art Groups in the sub urban city of Baroda. There was a parallel cultural formation in Delhi, Calcutta and Madras. However, the group formation in Baroda was progressive over the other stations. 

As Prof. Ratan Parimoo mentioned in his article Dawn of the Baroda School: “Historical chance brought together several artists at Baroda. Synergies were being created between traditional skills with western practices and techniques; with innovative minds and bold imaginative visions. Patriotism not only meant tradition and heritage, but also progress and modernity. Though Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad had patronised several artists including Raja Ravi Varma during the 1880s and the Fine Arts Department existed within the College of Engineering (Kala Bhavan) for several decades before 1950s, no artist community had taken roots in Baroda.”

The school was established with a technical intention. The geography, environment and polity influenced on the requirement of the growth of classical knowledge, and its expression extended to its succession. 

Eventually the Faculty of Art Baroda or ‘Baroda’ invited learners from all over the world. Many South Asians were attracted to it as ‘Baroda’ was the best place to grow with ‘art’ and its style. Endorsement of being a product of Baroda was a benchmarked recognition in Si Lankan art scene. 

Parallelly in the late 20th Century the ‘Art of Baroda’ was recognised beyond courts painting over different styles all over the world. The methods, material and exhibition traditions resulted from the diversified participation in Visual Art nourished the Baroda culture. 

After almost seven decades, a group of young artists influenced by Baroda exhibiting their artistic expressions beyond Vadodara; Beyond Faculty of Fine Art; Beyond India. In 2020, on the 13 to 15 March nine artists of Indian origin and one artist of Sri Lankan origin get together and exhibit in Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo Sri Lanka. The group itself is a product of Baroda. This is the inaugural exhibition of a series of expressions. The collection will be exhibited in Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka in the following week. 

Thematically, the show will be ‘The Barodagaman 2020’. Historically, the timely ‘aagaman’ (arrival) have set trends in culture. Atul Mahajan, Rahul Mukherjee, Sandip Pisalkar, Naishadh Jani, Prantik Chattopadhya, Krishna Ria Smart, Dushrant Patel,Prabhakar Alok, Varun Curset Ji are invited to take part in the Art Show from India. They have studies in Baroda and now based in Baroda. Sanjeewa Liyanage is a Sri Lankan, studied and influenced by Baroda and based in Colombo Si Lanka. 

How does it happen? The Barodagaman 2020 will be a platform for both Sri Lankan and Indian artists to get-together, meet each other and explore the opportunities within and beyond. The group of Indian artists will be visiting the art galleries, universities and the departments of fine arts and historical and cultural places. Workshops, pocket discussion and knowledge exchanging sessions are organised at its School of Art. This opportunity is for the students who study Fine Art in local and international streams, in schools. 

The artists are invited for a Pre-exhibition visit in December. They are able to travel, meet people, artists and galleries. It is a step to facilitate to add the richness of the theme The Barodagaman 2020 and present it to Sri Lanka as a release of Baroda Art in Sri Lanka.