The opening of Caesura/Continuum – a two week-long exhibition of sculptures by New York based artist Raj Shahani, was recently hosted in Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery. The opening was an apt homecoming for the Mumbai-born artist, who swapped a successful career in business, to follow his calling as an artist. The exhibition brought together a selection of 25 bronze sculptures from the series titled Emotion, inspired by lyrical movements of the human body, through sensitive and detailed observation of dancers in motion.
Photography marked the starting point for this series, which has been two years in the making. Moved by the eloquent fluidity and dynamic physicality of dancers, the artist began extensively photographing performances. This gave him a unique perspective on the power and beauty of the human form. Moving to the medium of sculptures allowed Shahani to articulate his sensitive reading of movement and physicality, in the three dimensional. The sculptures are near-life size, 3D translations of his photographs of ballet and contemporary dancers, with an acute eye for detail and sensitivity to movement.
Describing his inaugural exhibition, Shahani says, “It’s really fantastic to be showing my work in my hometown. Consciously or unconsciously, I was holding myself back for so long that now I don’t need any motivation to create art. Photography and sculpting are codependent for me. I don’t really have a system or process in place, I just let my creativity lead the way, and if I get stuck, I close my eyes and let the subconscious play its part. Often, I forget to eat, drink or rest when I’m in my studio and revel in the fact that I can express myself so clearly now!”
(The exhibition is on for public viewing till the 16th of November, 2019 at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai)