Artist Anita Goel’s Udaan series takes flight on November 16

The works done during the lockdown compel viewers to reflect and introspect

“My works are open to interpretation. Some viewers would probably see chaos in a painting that others find peaceful. It’s interesting to see diverse viewpoints,” says artist Anita Goel on leaving her canvases untitled. Her solo show at the Nehru Centre Art Gallery in Mumbai from November 16 to 22 displays abstract works from her Udaan series.

Artist Anita Goel | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The London-born Mumbai-based Anita’s Udaan series began in 2009 as a commissioned work. The series of nine paintings captures the spirit of birds in flight signifying flying high, hope and freedom and served as inspirational wall art for the office staff. The series evokes feelings beyond symbolic representations. “It is not just about sending a message or anything; it conveys feelings and expressions,” adds the artist.

Most of the works — done during the lockdown period — have the energy to draw viewers into introspection. “I could connect to freedom and its importance at that time and ended up painting a lot,” she adds.

Work by Anita Goel | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A 5×5 feet canvas depicts a dancer performing a whirling dervish. The house around him has turned into a sea, with a pair of birds flying on the canvas. The expression on his face is fixed, but he continues the dance of dervish. “Humans were caged in the house during the pandemic while birds and animals were free to walk on the roads. It was also a great time to go inwards and connect spiritually,” she points out.

Positive art

While she continued with varied themes including works on Buddha, Nature and figurative, Anita keeps going back to the Udaan theme as it evolved over the years with different colour schemes, multiple layers and the addition of metal foil elements – gold, silver and copper colours, However, what remained constant is the bird in flight. The thought process too seems to have shifted from trying to convey to creating a deeper connection with work. “I no longer try to give a message in my work, the expression comes out as a by-product. Viewers subconsciously relate to my work and connect with it,” she adds.

Work by Anita Goel | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Anita loves to work on large canvases (“I know houses in Mumbai have smaller spaces”), sometimes even using a ladder to paint. Having a studio at home makes it easier; she can either work simultaneously on three canvases in one day or just not touch the canvas that day. “Art comes to me organically so I can easily shift between different roles at home,” she says.

The interest in art has increased post-COVID, she observes. “Being cocooned in the houses has made people interested in art. They want something vibrant and meaningful which adds positivity to their mood and space. The art market is picking and people are looking a lot to invest in art.”

Looking forward to the show at the Nehru Centre Art Gallery after the pandemic, she says, “I hope art gains momentum in the coming months.”

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