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October 18, 2016

A Brush With Lensman Rohit Chawla’s Portraits

Text by Huzan Tata. © Rohit Chawla/Tasveer

Gaze at his creations inspired by iconic paintings in Tasveer’s ‘The Inspired Frame’

“If you want to be an artist, you have to create something that’s artistic in spirit,” believes lensman Rohit Chawla. His photographs, high on the fashion quotient, take inspiration from various artworks and eras that have fascinated him. In The Inspired Frame, Tasveer’s latest exhibition curated by Nathaniel Gaskell, Chawla reconstructs tableaus reminiscent of Mughal miniatures as well as paintings by artists as diverse as Raja Ravi Varma, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo.

“I worked on the commissioned project on Raja Ravi Varma and then did the Klimt collection. I was lucky that designers like Sabyasachi shared the same sensibility as I did — he made all the clothes for the Frida series that was a natural corollary to the others. Tarun Tahiliani worked on the Mughal miniatures costumes,” explains Chawla.

Although he enjoyed the close collaboration with the fashion and set designers, each project came with its own challenge. The miniatures were difficult to recreate because they had to look one-dimensional, while the Frida series needed women who both looked the part and could also retain their individual characteristics on camera. Currently exploring Paul Gauguin, he says, “You do try to have a sense of wit about you — it’s an intrinsic part of doing anything creative. You have to surprise the viewer”.

The Inspired Frame is on display at The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Kolkata from October 18-30, 2016.

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