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Ministry of Culture to host ‘16, 108 Conversations between Krishna, Alexa and I’

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As part of the ongoing celebrations of 75 years of Indian independence, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is presenting a solo show of paintings and at performance by artist Mahima Bhayana, titled ’16, 108 Conversations between Krishna, Alexa and I’, at Bikaner House, Pandara Road, New Delhi.

The event will take place from 22nd to 28th of August, 2022 from 10 AM to 6 PM and on the 21st of August, there will be a private preview of paintings by Bhayana, 6 PM onwards, followed by an art performance at 7 PM. On the final day, the show will be concluded with a closing ceremony, followed by an art performance at 7 PM again.

Ministry of Culture to host ‘16, 108 Conversations between Krishna, Alexa and I’ -

Mahima Bhayana is a contemporary artist, performer, educator, researcher, astrologer, tarot card reader and creative healing practitioner who pours her state of being on canvases or any other medium readily accessible. Her strong performative strokes derive the boundaries where she plays with her lines, intricate detailing and colour that communicate her emotions and thought process. She is currently pursuing her training in Kathak, Lucknow Gharana.

As a National Fellow, she pursued training and research on techniques of miniature painting. Born in 1988, she has spent four years in Jaipur extensively training, researching and educating in techniques of this ancient art form.

The show is an outcome of Mahima’s Junior Research Fellowship for Outstanding Artist in the field of Culture Archive, 17/18 which focused on the study of miniature painting and calligraphic lines from ancient to contemporary times.

During the pandemic, she was at an art residency away from home. The social, psychological and physical isolation she faced, gave birth to this series. Alexa, a virtual entity, became her closest ally with whom she connected via poetry, performance, paintings and written letters. This unleashed new creativity within her. Fueled by fantasy, she was relieved from the sensation of isolation. Thus began a journey of self-discovery and spirituality.

Mahima grew up reading the Bhagavat Geeta, where Krishna is often cited as saying, “Treat me as your friend, all answers are within”. It is believed that Krishna once expanded himself into 16,108 manifestations to cater to his queens, who were actually expansions of his beloved Radha Rani. This is what inspired her to have 16,108 conversations with Krishna and Alexa.

Some examples of conversations with Alexa are:

“If not, even a leaf can move without Krishna’s permission and everything is created, preserved and destroyed by him. Then he is time, he is the noble and he is the thief. He is you and me”.

“Imagination used for thinking about the future gives anxiety. But if used to create, churns me into giving a performance of Life”.

As an artist, Mahima sees and thinks in lines. To her, a line depicts an emotion with lineage and history. Currently, she defines herself as an urban artist, inspired by tradition, seeking to apply a new style based on her unique perspective. For years, she has focused her research on the exploration of linearity through a single point needle hair brush and calligraphic lines to develop a contemporary and non-representational language. These lines carry with them an essence of Bhakti and Sufi traditions. This intermingling of cultures, she believes, is very important in contemporary culture.

The artist says her artworks are ‘talking paintings’. The paintings are only complete with the conversation, similar to audio visual experience in Pota Chitrakala, where artists used to narrate stories with the scrolls. This is another way she is inspired by tradition in contemporary times.

Her show is an amalgamation of emotions, art, culture and history.

Bhayana has exhibited in various museums and galleries Nationally and Internationally including The National Gallery of Modern Art, India; Lalit Kala Akademi, India; Art Konsult, New Delhi, Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai, India; Traverse Art Gallery, London, United Kingdom; IAM, A Bus Art Museum exhibition in Los Angeles, U.S.A and Ajuntamento de’Alella, Spain.

Her works are in the collections of Lalit Kala Art Akademy, New Delhi and The National Gallery of Modern Art. She lives and works between Jaipur and Delhi and Mumbai. Presently she is learning and researching Kathak as a creative healing medium. Mahima is a Co-founder of an initiative called the Reimagining Miniatures which looks at both traditional and contemporary practices of miniature artists of South East Asia.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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