Sujata Bajaj’s work strikes a balance between Indian aesthetics and Western modernism Image Credit: Supplied

More than 100 artworks by established and emerging artists from around the globe are on display at Renaissance of Global Art II, the second in a series of exhibitions organised by Dubai-based company Legacy Art. The artworks range from abstract and calligraphic works to figurative and surrealist paintings in various media and address diverse themes.

A section of the show is dedicated to well-known contemporary artists such as Paresh Maity, Jamil Naqsh, Sujata Bajaj, Mashkoor Raza and Jose Toledo. Pakistani artists Naqsh and Raza are represented by figurative and calligraphic works that include a tribute to Picasso by Naqsh and several paintings of horses by Raza. Indian artist Maity’s paintings also include abstract and figurative works.

Bajaj is presenting a selection of recent works that include the vibrant abstract paintings she is known for as well as mixed media works from her Ganesha series, an ongoing body of drawings, paintings and sculptures featuring abstract interpretations of the Indian deity in her distinct style.

Bajaj studied art in India and did her PhD thesis on Indian tribal art. Impressed by her early work, modern master SH Raza urged her to go to Paris, which she did in 1988 to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieur Des Baeux-Arts. She has been living and working between Paris, Oslo and India, but now also has a home in Dubai.

The artist’s work strikes a balance between Indian aesthetics and Western modernism. Her abstract paintings feature strong lines, geometric forms and textures in a palette of bright reds, yellows and blues that reflects her Indian roots. She often collages pages from ancient Indian sacred manuscripts onto her canvasses to infuse the works with positive energy and spirituality.

“I like to work with the abstract language of lines and colours because the compositions continuously evolve and acquire new meaning as time passes and the perspective of the viewer changes. I created the Ganesha series for myself during quiet meditative moments but have begun exhibiting them on the urging of my collectors and art lovers,” Bajaj says.

Mexican Jose Toledo is a civil engineer with a master’s degree in Project Management but his interest in art has taken him to various countries across the globe. He began his art education at the Delhi College of Art in India, and then trained with well-known artists in Stockholm, Barcelona and Jerusalem, before moving to Dubai in 2008. His paintings are inspired by the different cultures he has experienced. For this show he has created works that depict the whirling dervishes and their transcendence to a higher level of consciousness through their rhythmic movements. “I first saw them in Turkey and am fascinated by how their movement also helps viewers to attain peace and tranquility,” he says.

Radhika Seksaria’s deeply spiritual paintings also feature whirling dervishes. The Indian artist was inspired by the writings of Sufi poet Rumi to create a well-known series titled RUMInations. She has used motifs such birds flying out of a cage and blooming lotus flowers to represent the freedom and beauty attained by the enlightened soul. “I want viewers to feel peace, hope, light and love when they see my compositions,” she says.

African artist E Mathenge’s realistic portrayals of wildlife on the continent capture the vastness and beauty of the African landscape but they are also a stark reminder of the disappearing natural habitats of these animals and the need to protect and preserve our environment. Indian artist Dharmesh Yadav and Asaj Perera from Sri Lanka have also taken inspiration from nature to create realistic paintings of wild animals native to their countries. Humaira Hussain also celebrates the beauty of nature through her paintings of flowers, birds and butterflies.

Sabir Haque’s paintings of beautifully balanced pebble sculptures on a beach allude to the delicate balance in nature and the need for human beings to respect its fragility. Whereas Shamendhu Sonawane’s depiction of pebbles and detritus on the beach looks like lines of written words inviting viewers to read the stories of the waves that come crashing on the shore, the pollution caused by human beings and the endless cycle of nature.

Horses are a popular theme in the show. Brazilian artist Lyssandra Moscardo brings out the contrast between the powerful horse and the intricate decorations on its harness and saddle in her paintings; while Abdullah Ali focuses on the close relationship between man and horse in his paintings of polo players; and Vishnu Sonawane’s horses done in soft pastels have an ethereal, dream-like feel.

Emirati artist Mohammed Ali Abdulla Mohammed Al Marzooqi invites viewers to look at familiar things with a new perspective through his surrealist works. Jaganath Paul also plays with perception in his abstracted figurative paintings; and Abdullah Ali’s powerful paintings of women express his belief that women are a symbol of courage and beauty and despite being suppressed by society will always emerge strong.

The show also includes a variety of contemporary calligraphic works by award-winning artists such as Kairash Yaghubi and Mohammed Rafatneshan from Iran and Pakistani artists Amjad Butt, Bin Qalander and Arif Khan and abstract compositions in different styles.

Other works include Nidhi Kakar, B. Kumar and Dinesh Parmar’s paintings of scenes from daily life; Russian artist Daria Blizhenskaya’s impressionist paintings of women; Paris-based Indian artist Kashfianna Pinto’s abstract expressionist works; and Italian artist Shola Carletti’s circular mixed media works inspired by the co-existence of the mundane and the spiritual that she has seen in India.

Sonia Ghai, managing director of Legacy Art, says, “Our aim is to promote emerging and established artists from around the world with a special focus on artists from the GCC region. Over the last two decades we have developed strong relationships with artists from across the Middle East, Asia and Europe and built a collection of over 500 contemporary, modern and Islamic artworks, which enables us to provide a bouquet of services including researching, procuring and commissioning of artworks. We are pioneers of corporate leasing of art, which includes conceptualising and designing themes, procuring and commissioning appropriate artworks, regular rotation of artworks, and annual redesigning of themes based on client preferences. Our projects include Almas Tower, where we commissioned over 300 artworks spread over 45 floors. We regularly organise exhibitions to showcase the talented artists we work with to a wider audience, and we are happy to contribute to Dubai’s creative scene by bringing together works by so many accomplished artists at one venue. This show has been curated to ensure that visitors can enjoy a wide range of art and can acquire works that suit their individual tastes and budgets.”

Renaissance of Global Art II will run at the Cube Atrium, Central Park Towers, DIFC, until May 13.