Tuesday, April 3

Romancing the Roads by Rohit Sharma

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A while ago I came across the artwork series - Romancing the Road by Rohit Sharma, a Delhi based artist. These paintings reminded me of my earlier post about rickshaws in India so much, that I decided to make it part II of a series of posts about Indian transport and art.

Sharma's works focuses on the nuances of everyday life on the roads of Delhi. These paintings depict ubiquitous but easily ignored elements that are found on the roads in this chaotic capital city - auto rickshaws, trucks, taxis and cows. Summing up his inspiration, he says, "Every city has a way of encompassing individuals in its own way. The diversity of the Delhi is spell-binding as there exists landmarks representing the ancient, medieval and modern that gives Delhi a unique identity. The roads that lead on to these landmarks have their own stories to tell."

Cows, often found lounging on roadsides, crossings and parks in Delhi, play an integral part in his works. He has shown them to be at odds with the rapidly changing urban scenario. Rohit uses red in several of his paintings in a conscious effort to draw attention to the road rage evident in Delhi. Portrayed against a background of the Delhi road network, the innocent animals depict a moment of calm contemplation in the angry chaos of the city. In other paintings, he suggests that milk trucks are the modern cows of a metropolis. The depiction of the vehicles with tails, bringing milk into the city is an interesting satirical observation of cultural and technological changes in the city.
Another dominant element in Rohit’s paintings is the auto rickshaw, an indispensable part of the commuter’s experience in Delhi. Delhi-ites share a love hate relationship with the unscrupulous auto-wallah (auto rickshaw driver) who needs to be cajoled, pleaded or threatened in order to reach your destination. The painting “The young man with a backpack” makes a subtle comment on this complex give and take and the everyday struggle of a commuter in Delhi.

These works overall, are a reflection of Rohit's intimacy with his city, his love of its various simple aspects from the roads, the cows, the old cars, inviting all of us to look at the obvious with a new understanding and sensibility.
All images courtesy Rahul Sharma


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