Artist Rizwan M sees poetry in stone

What started as a fascination for the landscape and rock forms around the World Heritage site of Hampi has become a style for this Bangalore-based artist 

People go to Hampi in Karnataka to see the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagara kingdom. Alongside these ruins are hundreds of stone formations that visitors seldom give a second glance to. For Rizwan, who has been visiting Hampi regularly for many years, these boulders and stone formations hold an incredible fascination. He studies them as if he is doing a portrait of each of the forms. His passion for landscape painting, which started during his Ken School days, is evident in his engagement with this genre for more than three decades now. Some of the initial works were a lively rendering of the landscape. But he quickly moved away from a depiction of retinal impression of a landscape to a more poetical and conceptual response to the scene in front of him. Hence, there are works with only a single boulder or stone painted like a primary subject, ignoring the architectural ruins.

In some of these works, he paints stone forms like a sculpture or a detailed portrait of a stone formation with loving detail. In a few other works, complex stone formations are painted like a natural installation on a flat colour field. Here, the stone loses its heaviness and levitates as if by magic. Later, Rizwan also started visiting Kemmannugundi mining sites and documented the enormous harm done to the site. Again, instead of just depicting what is seen, he paints his impressions in rough strokes as if the raw treatment of the canvas is parallel to what is being done to the land. He also did a series of works where the body is studied and depicted like a vast landscape. In some of these works, ravaged landscapes are located on the human body as if the harm is done to the body itself. For a while, he also explored cutting forms of human body parts in leather and creating installations from them. It became an extension of his exploration of the human body as a landscape. In some of the recent works, Rizwan imagines extensions of the body, hands branching out into more hands, creating images which border on the surrealistic.

Rizwan pursued a diploma in fine art under RM Hadapad at the Ken School of Art, Bangalore and a post-diploma from MS University, Baroda. His works have been shown in various parts of the country. He has won the Mysore Dasara Exhibition award and the Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy award. He lives and works in Bangalore.

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