Tell Tales on Canvas

There is mayhem on the canvas. The main image is of a female devotee who has roses streaming from her mouth even as her faceless deities spew out a nondescript language of parrots. In a corner, there's money which speaks its way through jewels and gold coins. Vibrant bindus and swastikas criss-cross through the wedding decorations that lace the periphery of the canvas. "This is a lot on the canvas indeed," says British artist Angus Pryor.

This mixed-media painting screams out the chaotic semblance of what Pryor has seen in Delhi over the last few days. "I tried to absorb myself in the culture of this city, and everything on my canvas is just chaotic. But then, Delhi is chaotic," he says. Pryor is among the seven artists based in Kent, UK, who will exhibit at a three-day show titled "Critical Narratives in Colour and Form" at India Habitat Centre (IHC) from November 27. The exhibition, a part of a collaboration between the University of Kent and IHC, is slated to travel to Amsterdam, Korea and London, with more shows planned for other cities in India.

Pryor's work is among 60 prints by the artists that explore storytelling across the globe. The other artists are Jez Giddings, Mavernie Cunningham, Mark Howland, William Henry, Chris Hunt and Aya Mouri. Together, they explore the idea of biographical storytelling. "It is a narrative tradition that pervades Indian contemporary art but is pictorially lost in recent British practice," says Pryor.

While he has a work on India, "Mavernie is Persian-West Indian. Her prints are all with a black background, which is a metaphor for the black skin, and they all have strong female images," says Pryor, who is also an art educator at Kent University. He adds, "Jez, on the other hand, focuses on the history of his family, which is allegorical in a way and talks about his relationship with his mother and father."

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