Grosvenor Vadehra is pleased to announce Prajakta Palav’s first London solo show. Born in 1979, she is a leading emerging artist from India and is based in Mumbai.
In Sprouting Beads she continues to explore her life and experiences in the ever-expanding mega-city of Mumbai which sees a daily influx of migrants. One half of the show deals with the explosion of the population and its effect on the city whilst the the other half deals with the clutter and mess that builds up in people’s homes and flats and their efforts to conceal it.
There are four paintings that capture the explosion of the city. In Overflowing, Palav meticulously paints a sky-high pile of rubbish, in this case pulp rubbish from a landfill site. Just as cities in India are overflowing with rubbish, the rubbish seems to be coming out of the canvas as well. In all her paintings Palav plays with perspective, creating images that subvert our understanding of everyday objects. In Spitting, she captures the over-flowing commuter trains, which inhabit the everyday lives of Mumbaikars. These paintings are not just photographic copies – they are altered and adapted to heighten perspective. People are stacked on top of each other as they hang out of the train doorways. The background is left white which leaves the painting open to interpretation. The title of the painting humourously refers to the habit of spitting consipicous in India – seen in the form of people and objects falling off the trains. Bursting depicts hundreds of cars, buses, rickshaws in one massive, endless traffic jam while Spreading depicts the growing slum rising up into the sky. These works whilst criticising the lack of amenities and infrastructure also betray some kind of fascination with the by products of rapid growth. These paintings also reflect the lower-middle class surroundings that Palav grew up in, on the outskirts of Mumbai, full fo slums and commuter trains not for the Mumbai tourists to see.
Just as she captures the World outside her window she is also concerned with the ever expanding mess and clutter in a small suburban flat and the efforts to hide that mess. This series of paintings entitled Tiny Corners, are paintings/reliefs that are embedded into the gallery wall. The white minimalist finish is disturbed by a glimpse of the mess visible through the cracks. Palav mentions that from the surface houses may look neat and tidy, but if you look behind the door, you’ll see a stack of coats and bags, hidden away. Tiny Corners challenges and invites the viewer to look behind the corners, into the hidden mess.
In both the paintings and installations, Palav creates beautiful works, meticulously painted and well-crafted, but fundamentally, she paints ‘the ugly’, the things which are meant to be hidden. There are references to the image given of new India that is booming and prosperous, but if you look behind the doors there are many problems like the lack of infrastructure, day-to-day amenities and poverty. Palav’s images makes us ponder on what is it exactly that they are trying to show or hide?