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Tenderness goes a long, long way

I’m looking at the artists concept notes that each has sent me.
Unvarnished deeply felt beautifully written candid words.

I have already savoured their images by visiting studios, shows and opening email files. For some reason it melts something locked like a tight fist inside me and wells up as tears. A strange kind of aching sweetness.

“You’ll find out you’ll find out you’ll find out… that Tenderness… goes a long long way!”

From some recess of childhood memory of LP record afternoons in my parents’ home with the blinds drawn across the windows to shield out the fierce arab sun, Sam Cooke’s soulful throaty crooning.

Though the song is one counseling a young lover to conduct himself always with tenderness and kindness, towards his loved one, no matter what the circumstance, I found myself replacing the image of the loved one with Life itself.

I feel so fortunate that in these cataclysmic times that we live in, globally and locally,be it in terms of climate, political turmoil, war, hunger, unrest, attacks on freedom and of late, closer home, the looming ugly threat of fascism dividing hearts and tearing apart the founding aspirations of this country, here are my crazy fellow sojourners, who respond to strife with such infinitely stubborn mad tenderness…

One is an unassuming looking poet with a day job in a busy far off metropolis who embroiders the magnificent dream underside of his life topside-up in his fabulous frames: Ranjith Raman

Another from a meditative tradition, compulsively paints flower strewn nuptial beds after a shock encounter with life as lived out by the poorest people in cramped segments of a heritage quarter of his city – picturesque for the outsider but rotting & decrepit for those who live choicelessly in its decaying insides: Madhu Venugopalan

A third is a restless battle scarred veteran dreamer of a just utopia who has now eschewed more overtly political imageries for surreal trees: Johns Mathew

A fourth paints tiny insects and flowers with a tender delicacy that borders on obsessiveness: Hima Hariharan

The fifth pits himself against himself and then chronicles the ensuing struggles using self portraiture and animal metaphors: Nandan P. V

The sixth, Asha Nandan, steeps herself in painting a single subject in her most immediate domestic vicinity-Cats as a preparatory for a more playful vocabulary of forms that are right now on her anvil.
The seventh is a sculptor of iridescent fish using thickly loaded paint where fish is a metaphor and an alphabet of memory of his native island after which he has named himself: Sunil Vallarpadom
An eighth, magnetised by a mesmeric speck of new life, his first infant, paints her allusively by painting the objects in her world with infinite slow layers of water-colored tenderness:
Jagesh Edakkad

There is a ninth artist too now. Even if his participation is duration bound: Swagath Sivakumar.

This young Sufi singer responds to my curatorial note in a conceptual jugalbandhi with a list of songs specially put together for this show: “Yeh to Ghar hain Prem ka”.

Meet them all through their works and expanded curatorial notes at LongTime Art Space.

Meet your soul through Swagat’s interpretation of Sufi & Bhakti poets.

May their gift of Tenderness go a long long way with you for a long long time!

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