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Vibrant paintings depict emotions, social issues

By Farman Ali 2020-12-23
ISLAMABAD: Surreal paintings by Ragini Upadhyay Grela, displayed on Gallery6`s website, depict human emotions like love, compassion along with social issues.

Original and digital prints from several of the painter`s series have been exhibited in the online show arranged and curated by director of the gallery Dr Arjumand Faisel, an established artist and social activist himself.

Ms Grela, in some of her works paints away her state of mind during different phases of her life while other works are depictions of social and political upheavals in her country, Nepal.

Vibrant colours, bold strokes are indicative of her emotions, love, and environmental concerns as depicted in the Sky and Earth, Broken Cornb and The Broken Wings of Meand You f rom her series titled `Ashes`.

She painted these in 2017 after the sudden death of her only teenage daughter. This is the first time she has agreed to sell digital prints of her work as she does not want to part with the originals because of her emotional attachment with them.

`Losing my lovely child Shivata completely changed my world. My creativity explores new fields planted with sadness and desire to reconnect with Shivata beyond death,` the painter said, while explaining her creative process.

She set up the Shivata Love Foundation to support underprivileged children and women. Part of her art proceeds go to the foundation. Her work Divided Nepal from the `Gai Jatra` series, shows political crises in Nepal; the cow represents people and their owners represent politicians.

Ms Grela graduated in Fine Arts from LucknowUniversityin1982,studiedinGermany and Britain and received several awards including the Kunst Academy Award, Stuttgart, the King and Queen Birendra Aishwarya Memorial Medal, The Best Award, 1000 Years of Lucknow College of Arts, among others.

`Life has been art and art has been my life. I have never stopped transforming my thoughts and emotions into pictures that narrate many stories. I initiate them, and the spectator has to complete them,` she said.

While there are no original pieces on display at the gallery, the painter retouched some of the digital screen prints with acrylic paints and has offered substantial discounts for buyers,the curator pointed out.

In some of her works, Ms Grela used symbolism brilliantly, compelling the viewer to engage in dialogue with the painting for hours for instance the telephone receiver symbolises connectivity and love while theserpent symbolises two extremes: caution and malice. Her works, Today`s Lovers Tool and Lockdown Kiss show the social impact of the coronavirus pandemic on human relationships The show will go on until Dec 24.