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Artist of the Day | Parag Sonarghare

Parag Sonarghare



Acrylic on canvas

48 x 36 in


Baroda based Parag Sonarghare has curly hairs and he and his works look exotic amongst the straight haired people. JohnyML does not want to make a racist and racial statement here. But curiosity has taken him to talk about his hair. Starting from hair, the writer scans through the works of Parag Sonarghare and says that this artist has a lot of possibilities to develop as a genuine artist in the coming years.

I am looking here for a silly generalization: Do curly haired people make good art? I could see a lot of you getting up on your feet and saying that it is absolutely a rubbish statement. Let me tell you, I am not making any statement or judgement here. I have seen so many curly haired boys weirdly imaginative and severely original. So are straight haired ones. But I have not curiously looked at them. The fact is that puffed up curly hairs invite attention, in our country where straight hair is an Aryan quality, curly haired ones look exotic. Parag Sonarghare has curly hairs and he looks exotic. His works, I find are interesting. I insist that even if he had straight hairs and still doing the same kind of works, I would have considered him and his works for critical consideration.

This young man, Parag Sonarghare, having obtained his bachelors from Nagpur Fine Arts College, went to do his post graduation in painting at the fine arts faculty, M.S.University, Baroda. His works show that he belongs to a cusp generation that has been oscillating between the allure of mediatic realism and the more rebellious and fashionable cutting edge art. Parag is one of those rare young artists who have found a mid way between these two pulls. His painterly language has a lot to do with mediatic realism aka photo realism. But his thematic choices are different; he brings the sophisticated and the mundane on the same pictorial plane. He bridges the gap between the educated and the uneducated, the included and the excluded. He uses his own body as a performative platform and in the paintings he covers the body surface with tattoo like images. He incorporates digital art, painting, performance and installation in most of his two dimensional works without moving away from the conventional painterly methods.

Parag is the protagonist in most of his works. But like a Bahuroopi, he lets his body to mediate so many other characters and narratives. He evokes surprises by juxtaposing his painted body along with the normally clad people. He has a dancer’s choreographic sense; even when he stands straight and looks directly into the eyes of onlookers, his painted body vibrates with a sense of rhythm. However, he does not celebrate the male ego or virility in these paintings. By over painting his body, he divests his gender authorities and assumes a gender which goes beyond all possible genders. In some of his works, Parag fragments his body into pieces, while each piece tries its best to be a part of the whole. He looks like a sculpture that has been vandalized by time and society.

Society is a concern for Parag. But his anxieties are not ridden with angst or anger. It has a sort of detachment tinged with a sense of humour. While portraying himself as a wandering wall of pictures, a fragmented sculpture of sorts, he paints the portraits of ordinary people who have come to his life by various ways. They are from the margins of the society, often excluded from high art (recently inclusion has become quite a fashion for many but Parag had started it much before it became a fashion). Also he identifies with dogs; the love for canines does not come from his snobbish love for pets. He makes them his alternative self and indirectly tells that an artist lives a dog’s existence. He is a friend of all, he guards the society, he loves the masters but he is always treated as a dog.

Parag Sonarghare does performances and other collective activities with artists and friends. Often he takes the experience of these into his paintings. His has created an iconic image for himself and it is yet to become a part of our contemporary art history. The major conflict would be between photo realism and his aspiration to develop an alternative language for himself. So far his efforts have been successful. In the coming years, let’s hope Parag would come up with many more interesting works.

Courtesy of

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