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Ganeshas galore

Manilal's canvas is filled with the god's images


THERE IS no doubt that Ganesha is in with all. One of the favourite deities of the Hindu pantheon is now found in different manifestations in various mediums. Art collections revolve around this pot-bellied god. His `malleability' is incredible and so are the portrayals. From abstract, semi-abstract to the figurative, he sits pretty in all. Manilal is full of Ganesha - his 101 paintings on this Lord (displayed at Daira Centre for Art and Culture) reflect his passion and obsession. And his depictions range from the regular (straight-forward) to the abstract and semi-abstract. The colour palette is very bright barring for two or three which is almost in monochrome. The latter has a slight spiritual/meditative effect.

Manilal has tried to introduce a bit of metaphor and allegory. Therefore, there is an effort to bring in a slightly intellectual plane. Particularly in those where he tries to compare the breaking of the coconut to the breaking of ego, or the burning of the candle where the wax flowing down indicates the shortening span of life while one gets nearer god and the bright flame (as it gets brighter) denotes the exit of ideas from the human mind. The impurities and pollution is another aspect he tackles.

Different visuals

These and other semi-abstract imagery are visualised by the artist in various ways - depicted in the form of elements of nature like mountains, rocks, trees, flowers and leaves. Using the shape of the God to indicate elements of nature seems to be somewhat trivial. Somehow the spiritualism intended by the artist does not surface on canvas.



God is depicted in floral form.

Manilal has also included some legends in his repertoire. "I want to educate people with Ganesha," he says. If he wants to do so the artistic expression needs to be more lucid and illustrative. A further reading of the myths and legends surrounding Ganesha may enable the artist to widen his scope of presentation and improve his visual vocabulary. In the process, the aesthetic appeal has to be borne in mind.

In a way, Manilal caters to the popular appeal through the usual images of Ganesha. "I want to paint 1001 images and also enter the Guiness Book of Records," says Manilal, who started his creative endeavour with Ganesha. He lives and breathes Ganesha. "I will continue to paint Ganesha (in oils only) till the rest of my life."

The exhibition is on for viewing at Daira till September 21 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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