Goan artist Praveen Naik is hosting a solo art exhibition ‘Notes from the Zeitgeist’, which will be inaugurated on February 18 at Gallery Gitanjali. NT BUZZ speaks to the artist to know more about his work and why he likes to speak about contemporary issues in his works
Gallery Gitanjali is hosting the opening of an art exhibition by a Goan artist Praveen Naik titled ‘Notes from the Zeitgeist’, on February 18. The 24 works reflect his-tongue-in cheek musings on the spirit of the times that we live in and are part of.
“As the title means it is the spirit of time. I do believe I am the product of this time and so are my works. All I am trying in my works is to make a comment on the current socio political situations and at the same time my internal happenings,” says Naik who hails from a sleepy village of Kumbharjua and is a product of the Goa College of Art specialising in Visual Art.
His paintings are abstract in its depiction and tap on various contemporary issues like domestic violence, lack of respect for women, gender inequality, religious and cultural clashes and tension between modernity and tradition. He says that to portray these topics in his works came naturally to him in the span of two years that he worked upon them. His desire to break free from conservatisms and social and cultural constraints is evident in each and every work. “These reactions are very much natural. I am not judging what is good or bad but being a visual artist I am trying to show a mirror to the society on what is already happening around us,” says Naik who has been a part of several group and solo shows in India and Germany. His recent and most noteworthy exhibitions are The Unbearable Lightness of Being at Kala Academy Goa in 2012; Bioscope at IFFI in 2013; Kama, Interrupted at Gitanjali Gallery in 2015 and Pushing Boundaries in Bonn, Germany in the same year.
Skilled and confident, he continues to be committed to steadily developing his talent in painting, sculpture, and drawing, set designing and teaching, as he experiments and renders acrylics with a variety of mixed-materials and collage techniques, often using stencils and textured layering that pulsate in colour.
In earlier works, Naik devoted himself to self-discovery, however he continues to portray his personal perspective of faith, marital and sexual desires, the circle of life and importantly human rights. He merges global religions, mythologies and cultural symbols harmoniously. He reveals a unique empathy with his environment, the socio-political context and how those affect the people around him. By critically and truthfully addressing burning issues, he doesn’t shy away but hits the nail on the head. He illustrates cultural and religious conflicts as well as political and economic policies in which people are often marginalised and question their identity and place of belonging.
However one important aspect for art and artists is the commerce behind it. These paintings are full of vision and at the same time make a comment on society. But, such paintings which are predominantly seen in art galleries do not easily find buyers. According to Naik this is one of the reasons why many artists do not take a risk to show out-of-the-box art. While speaking about the commercial viability he says: “It is very difficult to answer about buying of such art works. I am very optimist and I want people to buy art of such issues and appreciate them. But in places like Goa there is a need for art education and honing of marketing skills. There are many artists who feel afraid to express just because of this commercial aspect. But, for me my inner voice does not allow me to sit quite just because of the market crises.”
He however opines that Goan audiences are very open to such art. But we need to showcase such work more consistently.
Regarding appreciating such works, he says: “I think I have tried my level best to express and I am sure my audience will also understand and appreciate my art works.”
(‘Notes from the Zeitgeist’ will open on February 18 at 6 p.m. at Gallery Gitanjali, Fontainhas, Panaji. It is open to all. The exhibition is on till March 4.)