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Artist of the Day | Vinod Balak

Vinod Balak

Dwellers from an Unmapped Terrain


Oil on canvas

31.2 x 72 in


Balak's The Piper Dog and Hundred Others, depicts a miniaturized landscape where hordes of dogs are giving sexual chase. His manner of representing the dogs recalls Krishna's cows at Godhuli, a dynamic subject in Indian miniature painting and the art of the 'pichhwai' marking the setting of the sun, and the homeward return. The object of their pursuit is a small multi-armed doll like figure, being carried away by the leader of the pack – her multiple arms rendering her like a miniaturized dysfunctional Devi. One is tempted here to believe that these are highly sectarian readings as informed by the Shiva-Shakti-Buddhist politics of Indian religious history. But what Balak provides are the first indications that may be realized more fully later.

Balak's interjection at the site of western and Indian artistic convention opens up a critical debate of the location of the young artist. His own position is to move beyond the Indian artists' desire for accommodation, or assimilation within western mainstream art practices into a critique of systems, both Indian and global. There is here a preparedness to present a third stream with an insistence on the recognition of unresolved debates, nascent ideas, the aesthetics of the street and the temple, and the politics of the region. The viewer is challenged and compelled to recognize the presence of newer art histories, and artistic positions in the making.

courtesy of

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