Curator's Thoughts

‘Figuratively Speaking’ is an online show presented by Artflute under the Young Artists Show that features the works of five diverse artists who have lent us their young spirit and talent as they explore and investigate ideas of figuration through visual expression as a form, composition or an idea.

Through their apt "figuratively speaking" practices, each artist's showcased work in the exhibition which explores profound facets of their individual experiences. While Digvijay’s collagraph print creates a resonance exploring emotion through a metaphor, Deepak breathes life into his large human-like sculptures by personifying physical sensations. Ritesh’s lyrical black and white ink on paper works visually encapsulate consciousness as an idiom while Santhosh pushes the idea of oxymoron with his large acrylic paintings that epitomize duality and Aditya who with his bright and playful approach creates an alliteration of anonymity on his canvases.

What's even more fascinating is that all the artists in the show have a connection to the Baroda School. While all of them including Digvijay, Deepak and Ritesh (except Santhosh and Aditya, who have also exhibited in Vadodara) studied at the M S University, Faculty of Fine Arts Baroda which is synonymous with modern figurative narrative tradition in India, these artists preoccupation with figuration is much rooted in the artistic tradition of Baroda and thus carrying forward the legacy of Baroda School of Art.

The five artists come together in this unique show 'Figuratively Speaking' where they speak their minds, revealed through their world of figuration. With their artistic practice, they help us unravel what is beyond the literal and perceptible.
- Bavisha Varigonda


Digvijay’s practice is focused on capturing emotive states of 'being', using figuration as a response to people, things and situations. He archives human resonance through sensations evoked by his work that take you on an rare and varied sentimental journey with each of his vivid compositions.

His practice is based on stories which are experienced and memorized in containers of nostalgia while he represents the strangeness of an ordinary life. He crafts sentimental visual narratives as seen in his series titled Bandwallas where he skillfully combines the heritage architectural sites of his city with musicians, creating a powerful juxtaposition. With this series, he also makes an artistic attempt to emphasize and connect with the lives of people who are often gone unnoticed. While remaining true to his intention, Digvijay also cleverly uses the emotive power of various hues to communicate moods and conversations that is a striking feature of his compositions.
He says, “I was focusing on the fact of the existence of these monumental buildings and how they are celebrated by these bands when they play music in front of them. I was interested in the fact of owning an empire and the city itself in relation to the history of each site I choose”. He adds, “At the core of my practice is a deep exploration of human emotions, which comes from both my personal and collective experiences. I represent fantasies through figurative narrative, dreamy landscapes, and personal feelings that became more real for me than reality. I like to play between reality and fantasy through image-making.”

Deepak Behera

Deepak Behera's art revolves around the profound significance of the physical body and the experience of being alive. He deeply explores the essence of the body, often drawing inspiration from his own corporeal form. In his works, you can sense a contrast of comfort and pain, serenity and turmoil, weaving a rich tapestry that reflects his artistic vision and deeply resonates with the emotions.

In his quest to conceptualize the physicality of the body, Behera uses tangible materials and sculptural techniques that resonate with his personal experiences of embodiment.
His remarkable life-size sculptures are meticulously crafted with fiberglass, brass coating, and chrome pleating. This intricate creation exemplifies Behera's unwavering commitment to capturing the essence of the body and its physicality. Through this striking sculpture, he encapsulates the tactile and sensory aspects of our human existence, inviting us all to appreciate and recognise the materiality of human life and the body itself.
Behera's work stands out for his personal portrayal of the body making it relatable to everyone by emphasizing the importance of materiality in our lives. His hyper-realistic depiction of human forms tantalizes the senses, while added elements bring depth to the sculptures. This blend of realism and artistic interpretation invites us to reflect on our own physical existence, forging a deeper connection with the tangible world.

Ritesh Khowal

Ritesh Khowal perceives the body as more than just a vessel; it is a deeply personal conduit of exploring the mind-body connection and metaphysical temperament. He works with images, objects & materials to understand the very fabric of our existence, examining the intricate interplay between our lived experiences, our physicality, and the profound forces that shape our world.

Ritesh’s artmaking flows from his deep connection to the Sufi way of thinking – a questioning of dualities and finding purpose in existing amidst life's apparent dichotomies. His interest in philosophy pushes him to critically view his social and cultural context; unearthing profound insights that he weaves into his creations.. His inquiry with self and surrounding world revolves around questions triggered by time, the complexities of the human experience, the enigmatic nature of our actions, and the indomitable spirit of survival.
He finds himself consumed by profound existential queries:  “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What is the purpose of being here?”
“In this act of trying to make sense of the world around me, a dialogue takes place between the self and surrounding, between the real and imaginable. I believe in the self introspective nature of my practice. My work is a place where the inside and the outside worlds meet. Here, a beautiful negotiation unfolds between space, matter, knowledge, belief, politics, and philosophy.” This philosophical and poetic essence that permeates his words also infuses his visual expressions and compositions. Life's essence and our very existence are distilled into the power of conscious thought, which he conveys through his poignant and evocative black and white works.

SantHosh Sadrak

Santhosh Sadrak's art explores social and political concerns through the lens of machine aesthetics, portraying humanity as mechanized entities. His figuration style deconstructs traditional portrayals of human beings, revealing his view of us as functioning objects rather than fully alive beings. In his own words, he reflects, "During the brief span between life and death, humans often seem to operate more like utilitarian objects rather than living beings coexisting with the world around them. This insight leads me to believe that the true essence of life is overshadowed by the way individuals function in their daily lives."

Paul Cezane's words deeply resonate with his artwork. He states, "Every object in the universe can be broken down into cubes, cones, and spheres." His imagery is vibrant and dynamic, brought to life through bold and solid colors. Meanwhile, the symbolic aspects of his work are represented through various objects and symbols, which often carry an archaic and unchanging quality due to their connection to the practical aspects of reality. Through these elements, he seeks to symbolically express the irregularities found within political circumstances across different layers of society. His use of intense colors serves as a powerful means to convey the unfiltered realities of life and society, capturing the essence of "raw politics."
The compositions, at first glance, deliver a visual appeal with the edgy forms and lucid colors.  Only when we delve deeper into the intricate details do the works unveil the true power of the symbolic elements. The interplay between the visual gestures and the concealed symbolism actively creates an immersive experience. Within this intricate interplay, the artist extends an invitation to explore the artwork's multifaceted layers of meaning, actively awakening our emotions and challenging our preconceived notions.

Aditya ChaDar

Aditya Chadar embarks on a profound exploration of the human experience, delving into the states of "being" that exist within anonymity. His art revolves around the enigmatic concept of a crowd, as he unravels its complexities. Through his compositions and canvases, he masterfully portrays faceless figures and shadowy identities, evoking a haunting presence that resonates within each artwork.

Chadar aims to capture the chaotic yet harmonious essence of crowded places in his art. He wants us to ponder the idea of individuality and our place in society. By repeating forms in his compositions, he guides us through the intricate layers of the world, inviting us to explore its complexities.The artist's personal interpretation of his work beautifully captures its essence, highlighting the alluring interplay of repetition and the creation of a sense of familiarity. In his compositions of crowds, he manages to infuse an air of ambiguity, leaving room for personal interpretation. This distinct characteristic of his art creates a captivating tension.
Chadar's art urges us to ponder the intricate dynamics of life amidst a crowd igniting introspection and weaving a profound connection to our collective human journey. His ability to capture the essence of crowds while striking  a balance between emotions and visual elements demonstrated his artistic talent. His work invites us to delve into our own identities within the fabric of society, encouraging a deeper exploration of who we are amidst the collective.

'Figuratively Speaking' emerged as a showcase that aimed to celebrate the diverse approaches to figuration within the realm of painterly mediums. Artists such as Santhosh, Aditya, and Digvijay embraced figuration through their masterful use of paint and printmaking while others like Deepak (Sculptor) and Ritesh (Mixed Media Artist) introduced a captivating dimension to the ongoing dialogue surrounding figuration. As the curator, I personally embarked on an exploration of figuration, unearthing new talents that pushed the boundaries of this artistic language. Our collective intention was to transcend traditional boundaries, encompassing artists who expanded the very form, composition, and ideas associated with figuration.

With a specialized education in Art History and Aesthetics, specifically delving into the Figurative Narrative Tradition of Baroda, my journey as a curator has been deeply enriched. Throughout my studies, I witnessed the enduring practice of figurative narrative forms of expression among both students and alumni of the esteemed Baroda School, albeit with occasional modifications. This realization sparked the inspiration to curate a captivating exhibition that brings together fellow artists from the University, as well as those I encountered personally during my time in Baroda. These five exceptional artists, each with their distinct approaches, converge to offer a diverse exploration of the theme of figuration. Drawing upon metaphors, personifications, idioms, oxymorons and alliterations, their figurative expressions resonate with profound meaning. It is our intention that their works will redefine and invigorate your understanding of the world, revealing unexpected perspectives that challenge and provoke contemplation.
- Bavisha Varigonda

Digvijay Jadeja
Deepak Behera
Ritesh Khowal
Santhosh Sadrak
Aditya Chadar