Indian reflections

A Solo Exhibition by Tina Chandroji

16 July - 6 August, 20212

While belief in God is nearly universal in India, the kind of God(s) that we believe in varies. This diversity of belief is unified in the way that most Indians are unconditionally and deeply devoted to God. We believe that God pervades everything and is everywhere, and that he is the colossal being that occupies the gigantic things as well as the smallest particle of the world. Tina Chandroji cites India as the true inspiration behind her Art. The artist humbly adds that it’s beau­ti­ful how dif­fer­ent cul­tures man­age to co-ex­ist peace­fully in this coun­try.

Tina Chandroji’s enormous paintings of Indian shops and market stalls are characterised by impeccable order and intricate detailing. It is very real, at the same time, quite otherworldly. The hustle and bustle of commerce is yet to begin in those frames. Along with the images of Gods, portraits of previous shop owners find their place in the canvas, watching over the methodical order of mercantile goods. Even though the people are absent in the paintings, the divine and the commodities awaiting selling, makes their presence apparent. Chandroji explains that the idea behind the compelling presence of God in the central position is how Indian culture is intertwined with Gods of different religions. She further elaborates that, in India, people of different religions follow different Gods and everyone has a different occupation, but the common thing is that everyone starts their day with God’s name and ends with his name. Hence, the viewer finds each painting with a reference to God in a unique way.

Chandroji credits photography in helping her understand the image and the process of constructing an idea around the image. She works on two to three paintings simultaneously as oil takes time to dry on canvas. Her process of painting involves applying layers in the first painting and starting with the second till the first one dries up. The artist tries to make the paintings as real as possible and use all the colours one sees in the real world. The scale of the paintings is half life size and larger. The viewpoint is that of a customer looking in; the ceiling space is compressed while the floor space stretches out, giving the sense that one can actually enter the picture plane.The flat frontal light and minimal shadowing avoid the drama and projection of chiaroscuro for a delicately controlled perspective patterning. The precise arrangement and interpretation of objects is immensely impressive and an accomplishment of the highest order. The artworks are testimonies to Chandroji’s keen eye and absolute control over her medium, along with her rigorous approach to perspective, tone, brushwork and colour.

Chandroji is deeply inspired by the artistic legacy of Michelangelo and Raja Ravi Varma but her paintings are distinguished by a profound sense of the contemporary which is rooted in tradition and is unapologetically Indian. Her attention to detail is utterly mesmerising and mystifying. The paintings are a melodious ode to the relationship shared by commerce, spirituality and culture in India from ancient times.