25 Years of The Guild

Curated by nine curators:
Amrita Gupta, Chithra K.S., Deeptha Achar, Krishnapriya C.P., Najrin Islam,
Rahul Dev, Sasha Altaf, Sathyanand Mohan, Vaishnavi Ramnathan.

A. Ramachandran I Akbar Padamsee I Altaf I Amit Ambalal I Anupam Sud I Baiju Parthan I
Dilip Ranade I G. R. Iranna I Gieve Patel I Gigi Scaria I Gulammohammed Sheikh I
Jyoti Bhatt I K. G. Subramanyan I K. Laxma Goud I K. P. Reji I Krishen Khanna I
N. N. Rimzon I Nagji Patel I Navjot Altaf I Pooja Iranna I Prajakta Potnis I Rajkumar I
Rakhi Peswani I Ram Rahman I Rashmimala I Ravi Agarwal I Riyas Komu I
Sathyanand Mohan I Shadi Ghadirian I Shantibai I Shibu Natesan I Sudhir Patwardhan I
Sumedh Rajendran I T. V. Santhosh I Vidya Kamat I Vivan Sundaram I Zakkir Hussain

Preview: 19 August 2022

On view until 25 August 2022

CCA Galleries
Bikaner House
Pandara Road, New Delhi

  . INSTALLATION VIEWS                . EXHIBITION    



Vaishnavi Ramanathan


EmBodying Nature

Man’s relationship with nature has varied facets ranging from being a font of spiritual and aesthetic sustenance to being a resource for livelihood. Central to our relationship with nature are the notions of labour and leisure. It is through our quest, primarily for livelihood and secondarily for purposes such as recreation or explorations that we have come to interact intimately with nature. Tilling the earth to plant crops, cutting trees to acquire wood that would create homes, gathering produce from the forests, hunting animals for food and safety – such activities have been our first-hand source of knowledge of natural forces.  Either working in tandem with nature or pitting our strength against it, for long we have enjoyed a relationship with nature in which our physical bodies, emotional lives and material sustenance have been entangled.

“EmBodying Nature” features four artists, belonging to different geographical regions, artistic backgrounds, and age groups, in whose works the organic world has a significant role to play. Rather than visualise it as an abstract entity, these artists foreground the body and adopt an embodied approach in interpreting nature. Gieve Patel depicts the inner life of the tree through an abstracted representation of its body. In his drawings, the marks and indentations on the surface of a tree are the manifestations of the life energy that courses through it and transforms nutrients from the earth and air into physical form. Rajkumar’s paintings portray the equation between nature and man both through generalised narratives, speaking of nature during the pandemic, as also through personal narratives referencing his immediate world.  Nature is a silent presence in Shantibai’s works. Her paintings depict the organic world as the environment that the human body inhabits in everyday life and draws physical and psychological nourishment from. Rakhi Peswani’s works use fragmented forms from the botanical world to evoke our deeply embedded and instinctive connection with nature. Speaking from the position of an urban dweller, her works reference the language of craft, with its connection to the earth and the communities that work with the earth, to express the resilience of nature. In their own individual ways, the four artists featured in this selection dwell on nature but in a manner that takes into consideration the corporeal human condition. 


 Rajkumar began his artistic journey training under traditional sculptors in Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh. The turning point in his evolution was his role in co-founding the Dialogue Interactive Artists’ Association in Bastar. This resulted in both an aesthetic and attitudinal shift in his practice as he began to create artworks that emerged from the indigenous tribal culture but were reflective of the ground realities of life in the region. Today Rajkumar’s paintings and sculptures are characterised by a pantheistic vision that sees merit in all forms of life. This is reflected in the series of works on view. These paintings reflect the bond between man and the animals, the rhythm of agricultural life, the intertwining of nature and culture, and the altered relationship between man and nature during the pandemic. Through these works the artist represents nature as an aspect of mundane life and also as a universal entity that humankind should protect.


 Co-founder of Dialogue Interactive Artists’ Association in Bastar, Shantibai is a sculptor and painter whose works portray the personal, political and ecological aspects of her life in Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh. In the paintings on view, she creates narratives inspired by the people and places she encounters. Particularly, these works are vignettes of her artistic life. The conversations she enjoyed with fellow artists such as Rajkumar and Navjot Altaf, which led to mutual artistic growth, are given painterly form. Similarly, the activities of her artist colleagues and the trips they collectively undertook, such as the visit to the mines, are depicted in an intimate and unassuming manner. In representing these moments, the artist not only pays attentions to the people but also to the environment they are present in as she registers the familiar trees and other natural formations that are characteristic of the landscape.  Densely populated with rhythmic dots, human forms and organic elements, these works represent moments from the journey of an artist who lives in proximity to nature.


 Physician, poet, painter and sculptor, Gieve Patel’s output spans a wide range of preoccupations and expressions. The human condition is of particular interest to him as he captures everyday moments in urban life with a keen sense of observation. This perceptive ability also manifests in his representation of nature, a subject that he has been exploring for many years now through his painting and poetry. The series of drawings that are on view emerge from his habit of observing human and non-human life, internalising it and then manifesting it on the creative surface. Focusing his attention on capturing the energy of the tree, the artist composes the image with criss-crossing lines and marks that at once evoke both the physical form of tree while also dematerialising it. The exhibition also features the sculpture Daphne inspired by the Greek myth in which a nymph turned into a tree. With its rugged surface and organic, proliferating form, the sculpture of Daphne evokes the mutable quality of nature.


Organic metaphors and thought processes that take into consideration the natural world recur in Rakhi Peswani’s works. The notion of craft, both as a form of skill that manifests in the handling of the material and also as a practice that is predominantly associated with non-urban ways of life, shapes her work. This is evident in the manner she employs a range of materials such as textiles, paper and fragments from nature to create tactile and sensorial associations in the viewer. Through this she foregrounds materiality while also pondering on the question of people, their livelihood and their association with nature. Organic processes, such as decay and regeneration, also inspire the artist as in the work Metamorphosis where the artist dwells on life, death and the border between the two. In Splittings and Couplings she uses elements from the botanical world that she transforms by covering with jute or velvet to create sculptures. Through these fragmented forms of nature, that are faintly reminiscent of script, she evokes the language of nature that every individual is instinctively familiar with.  

Vaishnavi Ramanathan

© Author and The Guild



Gieve Patel


Tree Trunk, Series Fields
, 2019,
Pencil on paper, 22 x 30 inches
Tree Trunk - 2
, 2021,
Pencil on paper, 30 x 22 inches
Tree Trunk - 3,
Pencil on paper, 30 x 20.7 inches


Tree Trunk - 5,
Pencil on paper, 22.5 x 30 inches

102 x 180 x 61 inches, edition 1 of 9 + AP


Untitled, 2020, acrylic and watercolour
on paper, 22 x 29.8 inches
Untitled, 2002, acrylic and watercolour
on paper, 22 x 29.6 inches
, 2003, acrylic and watercolour
on paper, 22 x 30 inches

Untitled, 2000-2017, acrylic and
watercolour on paper, 22 x 30 inches
Untitled, 2009-2017, acrylic and
watercolour on paper, 28.5 x 42 inches

Rakhi Peswani