Shunya – A Journey: An Exhibition Of Photographs And Paintings Exploring Panch Tattva


The hushed halls of Bikaner House light up with conversations on art as people pour in to witness the splendid collection of photographs and paintings by photographer Shreekant Somany and artist Rita Jhunjhunwala respectively. The exhibition titled ‘Shunya — A Journey’ is put up celebrating five elements, the panch tattva — Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, from January 4 to 7, 2020 at the Bikaner House Art Gallery, Pandara Road, New Delhi. An amalgamation of textured paintings, by Jhunjhunwala, inspired by Banaras, and portraits and scenic photographs shot by Somany in Ladakh, Tibet and the Pamir mountain ranges, the exhibition takes you on a journey of journeys.

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The exhibition lines up photographs and paintings that depict the essence of life through the five elements depicted in both abstracts and scenic portrayals. A couple of portraits shot by Somany are replicated into paintings by Jhunjhunwala to display a stunning concoction of both the art forms.

Foraying into the spiritual world of Banaras and gleaning through many mountainous terrains of Ladakh and Pamir, we found a soulful convergence of thought, emotion and art — the artists explain the idea of the exhibition.

For industrialist Somany, whose experiences of travelling to the scenic horizons brimming with natural beauty inspired a creative photographer in him, this is a debut collaborative exhibition with Jhunjhunwala. “She is family. We share our passion for arts, and thus, everybody would push to bring our artworks together. That’s how the idea of Shunya materialized — our work found binding in the concept of the panch tattva — through the timeless, eternal, the nothing, and yet the source of everything,” says Somany explaining the idea behind collaborating for Shunya. His works range from 3D photographs that bring rocky mountains to life to transparent sheet portraits on glass, making the person speak to you in the language of art.

A recipient of many national and international accolades, Jhunjhunwala explores the journey of Banaras through paintings comprised of textures of various papers and materials including charcoals, newspapers, hand-made sheets, watercolours and gold foils among others.  “Banaras is where the panchbhutas or five elements conspire to assault the senses with an incredible force. Capturing this is as much a challenge for an artist as a feast. I have attempted to do so using a medley of papers and mixed media for this exhibition,” explains Jhunjhunwala.

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