Avani Rao Gandra’s abstract paintings reflect the things we have lost and gained during the pandemic

The artist presents his works in a new exhibition “Bit by Bit” at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai from April 25

The artist presents his works in a new exhibition “Bit by Bit” at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai from April 25

Mumbai’s Jehangir Art Gallery is hosting a new “Bit by Bit” exhibition featuring the 29 abstract paintings by Hyderabad-based Avani Rao Gandra from April 25 to May 1.

New perspective

Avani Rao Gandra

Avani Rao Gandra | Photo credit: special arrangement

The works offer a dimension of the natural world representing emotional resilience and the willingness to pick up threads amid the sadness of pandemic years. Her expressions reflect on the little things we have lost and gained over the unprecedented years. A mighty elephant swimming through water in ‘The Mighty Disperse’ or a tiger learning to protect itself and survive when caught in a fire in ‘Fire in The Forest’ metaphorically deals with our lives when COVID- 19 disengaged us. “We were all thrown into the water, we scattered but learned to swim,” says Avani. The tiger in this forest fire recalls the difficult times when people, especially ‘women, had to push each other and show great courage and courage like a fire on fire’

By Avani Rao Gandra

By Avani Rao Gandra | Photo credit: special arrangement

During the two years of the pandemic, Avani has gone through a whirlwind of emotions – from being confined to her home and studio and watching the physical and emotional toll of families to the impact of COVID-19 on biodiversity and nature. The 52-year-old artist also looked at life from a different perspective and initially created digital paintings in 2020 on different facets of COVID-19. “There was so much commotion and a complete change from normal life,” she recalls. The isolation and freedom over the next few months helped her cope with the situation.

how it started

By Avani Rao Gandra

By Avani Rao Gandra | Photo credit: special arrangement

The series began three years ago as an environmental awareness campaign. The emphasis on caring for the environment, especially among young people, inspired her to paint landscapes. Paintings already begun were given new life when animals, birds and plants were added to the landscape. The title “Bit by Bit” was organic and symbolic and also portrayed the side of the pandemic when landscapes opened up and people slowed down, started to appreciate nature and sunsets, and spent more time with family. “Many people have said that COVID-19 has taught them many lessons. Slowing down has helped us become aware of each moment and value the little things; We lost something little by little but we gained a lot.

Including 15 medium paintings (3 x 4 feet), 10 small works (2 x 2 and 2 x21/2 feet) and four large formats (7.5 X 6 feet) with poetry, the 29 exhibitions were carried out over two years.

By Avani Rao Gandra

By Avani Rao Gandra | Photo credit: special arrangement

Avani’s style of work is unique in that she leaves her works open; sometimes a canvas hangs on his wall for three years and is completed in two days. Currently, she has 15 large works in various stages in her studio at the back of her house. “Unlike a figurative, I appreciate the freedom in abstract art; it allows me to apply my current state even on a half-finished painting,” she points out.

Having exhibited her photographs earlier at Jehangir, Avani looks forward to interpretations of her works at the gallery. “The most beautiful part of exhibiting at Jehangir is the different perspectives. One can listen to the conversations of not only serious art lovers, but also tourists, students, office workers and housewives who give their own interpretation of works.

Avani is also showing this exhibition at Iconart Gallery in Hyderabad from May 15 to June 5, to mark its reopening since closing during the COVID-19 lockdowns.


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