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Artist Profile3
Rajesh Ram’s art unravels stark realities of life
What sets apart Rajesh Ram’s work is the way he brings to life mundane images to reinterpret them with a rich palette and meticulous detailing. The photo-realism of paintings and sculptures of his seeks to capture the truth conceptually and as a pure artistic expression.

His large-format canvases are populated by characters caught up in day-to-day situations. The idea is to encourage the viewer to reinvestigate objects and circumstances, which otherwise seem mundane or regular. The noteworthy aspect of this promising New Delhi based painter and sculptor is his rich application of deep colors that brings the characters to life. They tell intriguing tales and weave a maze of complex reality. However, their almost expressionless, lifeless faces do not provide the viewer the slightest of hints as what may be going through their minds. It is only the vibrancy of his palette, swiveling from earthy to vivacious, which gives any indication of the tone or mood in his composition.

Born in 1978, in Jharkhand, the young and talented artist studied at the Patna School of Art. He took part in an Art Appreciation Course at the National Museum, New Delhi. The artist’s select solo shows include 'Hybrid', Anant Art Gallery, Delhi and Kolkata (2008); Project 88, Mumbai (2007); ‘Kala Akshar Bhains Barabar’, Anant Art Gallery, (2007), and ‘Open Sculpture Show’, the College of Art, Patna (2003).

He has also participated in a number of group shows like 'Urgent: 10ml of Contemporary Needed!', by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art at Travancore Art Gallery, Delhi (2008); Galerie Christian Hosp, Austria (2008); 'Peers Group Show', Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi (2008); Art Konsult, Hong Kong (2008); Kala Gallery, Austria (2007); Art Pilgrim, London (2007); ‘New Paradigms’, Gallery Romain Rolland & Gallery Threshold, Delhi (2006); ‘Variation’, the State Gallery of Fine Arts, Hyderabad (2006), and Habitat Centre, Delhi (2004).

Hybridity provided an interesting theme for him to mull over the future global discourse. He pushed the concept co-dependence to the extreme, by conjuring up off-springs, not just mixed racially but rather as mixed species – human, vegetal and animal. The complex patterns of his imagination and the ways they weave through contemporary concerns was evident in this particular series.

For instance, the painting ‘Cumin Seeds with People’, the forms are painted solidly. The composition is precise against a wallpaper of repetitive motifs (piles of cumin), which together make a compelling statement on the global food crisis. Through the repeated usage of vegetables - the construction of bodies as lean from the lack of food - the work refers to the crisis.

The problem is compounded by a dramatic price rise compounded by fast growing population, extreme weather and ecological patterns and trend of farmers themselves becoming consumers from being producers. He comes up with images of marginalization and abject poverty. They address the lack of caring, resulting in malnourished children, crying for food. ‘Buffalo Milk’ is a large sculpture of a cleaved out buffalo. Bags of pasteurized milk pour from it. While being critical of our rapacious appetite the artist valorizes those beings - animal and human – providing us food. His art questions a food system that leaves more people hungrier.

His paintings regurgitate the oft-seen images as the artist tends to position himself as both the witness of nagging problems and also as their spokesperson. He identifies the problem and even seeks the solution in works like ‘Dustbin’ of fresh lush produce discarded in a garbage bin, which recognizes the issue of excess waste or plentiful-ness? Stylistically his work may be termed neo-realistic. It is full of ironies of life. Noted art critic Dr. Alka Pande has noted in an essay, analyzing Rajesh Ram’s work, has stated in an essay: “His visual language is one, which effectively expresses the anxieties and tensions of urban living, balanced as it is between the oft-contradictory pulls of modernity and tradition.

“The artist communicates his message by employing images and symbols that are entrenched in the familiar and everyday. He juxtaposes them with different backdrops and contexts, and what results is a creation often jarring in the connotations that it contains through its creative fusion. In his work one tends to journey from the known to the unknown, dealing with the dilemmas and angst of modern existence simultaneously.”