Indian artists have found their muse in many Gods and Goddess of the polytheist Hinduism. Some are enchanted by the notorious flautist, Krishna, some are enamoured by the mighty Shiva, some are humbled by the knowledgeable and pleasant Ganesha, some found their peace in the meditating Buddha, and some feel empowered by the fierce Durga. These artists have their own way of portraying these Gods and Goddesses on canvas, each distinct from others with a unique colour combination and a distinguished style.
Ganapati Hegde artfully combines Indian mythology and mother nature. At first glance, his paintings seem to be a beautiful spread of different elements of nature. However, with a closer look, the onlookers can see that this arrangement of fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers, bugs and birds is hinting towards something more than nature. He sometimes adds subtle hints such as a peacock feather on the top to denote a Krishna or paints a horseradish to denote Ganesha’s trunk-like nose. Ganapati paints a black and white or sepia backdrop and uses bright colours to create his subjects. However owing to his brilliant brushwork and nature-inspired objects in his paintings, it is difficult to say where the background ends and the subject begins. Unlike other artists, using elements of nature to portray figures of Gods, sets Ganapati Hegde apart from others.
Om believes that to create magic ‘outside’ one needs to have magic ‘inside’. Om’s magic is his undying faith— both in the higher being and in him along with that in life and humanity. Most of Om Swami’s paintings revolve around the divine spirituality of Ganesha or Spiritual love shared by Meera for Krishna. He portrays his belief in meditation and spirituality through his confident yet fluid strokes. The eyes of his subjects are always closed as if introspecting their own selves. His canvas itself becomes an entity of reverence. His colour pallet is bright, bold and vibrant tones of reds, yellows, blues and oranges, with hints of greens. His signature flowing brushwork resonates with the concept of fluidity in religion.
In the modern-day and age, Vivek took interest in Indian mythology, the zebu bull; Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle and presents him in his own unique way. Vivek uses the holy bull as a canvas and painstakingly draws various Hindu deities, on the Nandi. He depicts important scenes and events from ancient Indian mythology in these drawing. His paintings are festive and have a joyous vibe to them. His backdrop is usually monochromatic with a texture or scriptures written all over it. Vivek Kumavat’s bull paintings are colourful, distinct, and a brilliant take on Hindu philosophies. Vivek’s intricate artwork on Nandi’s body distinguishes him from his contemporary spiritual artists.
Ganesha the God of knowledge, virtue and the One with immense focus and attentiveness, is Singh’s subject. He is fond of painting Bal Ganesha or the child form of Ganesha, the one who along with knowledge, and virtue is full of innocence and love. Much like Bal Ganesh Himself, Singh’s paintings carry a charming and innocent vibe. Animals, apart from the mouse, such as swans, elephants, etc. often make an appearance in his Ganesha paintings, thus resonating with Bal Ganesha’s innocence. The Ganesha whether he is playing the Sitar, pakhawaj, playing with the animals or just being Himself, in all these paintings His eyes closed, perhaps the artist is illustrating His focus and His love for music and that’s the emphasis of these paintings. The use of vibrant colours and the childlike innocence of the Ganesha makes Singh’s artwork different.
Basuki’s art is strongly influenced by terracotta and Durga maa. He grew up amidst the quaint and vast terracotta temples of Bishnupur, West Bengal and being a Bengali himself, Basuki has a strong affiliation with Maa Durga. However, the artists see the reflection of the ten-armed, dusky Goddess with a flaming red tongue from the Purans in the women around him. Basuki’s Durga is the common woman, working in the farms, selling fish and vegetables at the haat, cooking for the family, sending children to school, and bathing in the afternoon because she is too busy toiling for others. He is full of admiration for them as they constitute the culture of any community. He believes they are the ones with two arms, doing the work of ten arms. Basuki’s subjects mirror the puppets, inspired by the Bengal school of contemporary and folk art. His art is semi-abstract and has an interesting clay-like texture. His colour palette is rustic tones of reds, yellows, greens and blues. The dazzling red sindoor on the subject’s forehead and the engaging textures in his art characterises his paintings from others.
Realism focuses on portraying the art and it’s subject in a truthful and real manner and circumvents artistic conventions or exotic and supernatural elements. In simpler words, the artwork that resembles reality is referred to as realism. Amit Bhar’s paintings are so realistic that at times they seem to be photographed. With his stunning brushwork, brilliant array of colours and constantly observing the surroundings, Amit, breaths life into the canvas. The reality that exudes from his paintings, making the observers feel as if they are looking out of a window, onto scenery, a landscape or a deity, can only be manifested onto the canvas once it is absorbed through the eyes of the artist. Amit paints the statues of various Hindu Gods including Ganesha and Buddha on his canvases. With his play of light and shadow, Amit makes his subjects look realistic as if you are actually looking at a statue of God. The ease of his brushwork ensures that the painting gets a good texture and colour, thus resonating the sindoor on the stone statue of Ganesha or the calm form of Buddha. Amit’s realism leaves an impression on the onlookers, like no others.
Amol Pawar explores the mythological and spiritual world of Hindu philosophies. This is why most of his art is depiction and personification of various Hindu Gods and beliefs. He chooses rustic and earthy tones of colours in his paintings as he believes these hues keep him connected to his roots, his simplicity, to the soil of his hometown and his motherland. Also in love with other art forms such as calligraphy, Amol encompasses it in the form of scriptures in the background. Adding a long brush stroke instead of eyes, Amol’s signature style. Surprisingly, this depiction makes Gods and Goddesses look dynamic and even alive. It also sets him apart from other religious artists. The artist’s thought behind the painting, the intricate details, the calligraphy, the motifs are the key things that should be observed in the paintings, together they combine and create a picturesque painting.
Siddharth’s paintings are inspired by the deep-rooted philosophies of Indian mythologies, that are still prevalent and applicable in modern times. Over his artistic career, he has painted numerous paintings with different Hindu Gods as his subjects. Shakyamuni Buddha, Shiva-Shakti, Ram Sita and now Krishna in his latest Goverdhan series are some of his most favourite subjects. The incident of the golden deer in Ramayan, Shiva’s love for his wife Parvati and Buddha, meditating under the Bodhi tree are some of Siddharth’s most renowned paintings. In Govardhan series, Siddharth illustrates the story of Krishna lifting the mountain and sheltering the residents of the flooded Gokul from the wrath of Indra’s incessant rains. In a way, it also suggests that people today should think about important environmental issues such as global warming. The onlookers can see numerous patterns and textures in this painting, something that is a common sight in rural India.