Boxer Muhammad Ali does what he used to do best.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
The PaintBrush Art Community, co-founded by artist Sonal Purohit in 2019 along with her husband Dr. Romit Purohit, has inaugurated an event titled Retro Revival 2.0 at Double Tree By Hilton Dubai Al Jadaf. Opened October 15, the exhibition runs till month end. The event comes fresh from the success of its online version hosted during Covid times.
Retro Revival was considered one of the most successful online art exhibitions done during the period. It was viewed by more than 4,000 live audience viewers. Retro Revival 2.0 is the brainchild of Sonal and this time, she decided to host its physical version. The exhibition is embellished with some of the finest retro artworks money can buy or art can behold.
It is a fusion of Retro artworks and Retro fashion. “The artists were like artworks themselves!” says Sonal, at present in a recovery mode after the frenetic hustle and bustle of the inaugural. “They came dressed in retro styles and did a fashion walk on the stage. It was a sight to watch all the artists dressed in their retro avatars, as if they were coming directly from the Retro era!” “They were as beautiful as their art! The artworks were special too. Retro is not an easy subject to create on the canvas.”
As it happened, Dr. Sangeeta Parashar bagged the first prize for the best dressed Retro Artist. The inaugural was attended by celebrity guests from the world of art and entertainment. Houte Coutre Fashion Designer and representative of the Museum Of Americas, Sultana Kazim, formally inaugurated the exhibition. Actress and CEO of Zen Films Productions, Fathima Zenofar, graced the occasion as a Guest of Honor.
Legendary artist and entrepreneur Ahmed Al Awadhi (Rukni) was also present. He interacted with the artists, sharing valuable insights. International lawyer and entrepreneur Rashmi Chhabra, Saju Nair from Televisionario2, Kapil Chhabra and Meena Laitu – all regulars of the art world - also attended, in a show of support for the arts. Artist and philanthropist Kusum Dutta was at hand to share her views on the necessity of being charitable to the underprivileged.
The exhibition can be seen as a breath of fresh air that is doing its best to blow away the ill winds that blew in the world for two years of the pandemic. The subjects chosen for the theme too are cheeky and a notable departure from monotony. Sonal is also the curator of the show and she underlines that the artists came out of their comfort zones and put their hearts and souls to recreate the magical eras of times gone by with their art.
It was great to watch Sultana Kazim share her experiences with retro celebrities such as legendary boxer Muhammed Ali who figured in one of the works, she reminisces. “The way she herself was dressed up – with a hat and glasses - added so much glory to the event,” Sonal adds. Co-founder Dr. Romit Purohit, who usually handles the mic on such occasions, was at his witty best. He was funny and entertaining and charmed the audience with his fluency.
The opening ceremony turned into a retro fashion ‘Jalsa’ (Hindi for assembly or public gathering) of the artists. Many of them had not seen each other due to quarantine and isolation. They animatedly caught up with each other, updating themselves. “The artists proved their expertise and versatility and showed they have the capability to bring to life to any idea given to them,” Sonal said. Artists incuded Abbas Saberi (Iran); Ahmed Al Awadhi ‘Rukni’ (UAE); Bushra Malik, Mariam Khawer (Pakistan); Anjum Daud, Moni Shyam, Paulomi Rana, Prabita Rajesh, Ramsha Mirza Rehman, Rani Viswambharan, Rauf, Reena Dhiman, Renu Shivam, Saima Hasan, Shereen Abraham, Sonal Purohit, Sugat Priyadarshi, Vidhi Soni and Ummehani Fardan, Dr. Poonam Chauhan, Dr. Sangeeta Parashar, Foram Rachh, Harshita Ramchandani, Jasmine Mohammed Rizvi, Jasnoor Kaur, Jyoti Singla, Kusum Dutta, Annu Vikas Singh and Arti Bhatia (all from India).
According to Sonal, Retro is timeless. “Retro has been always vibrant, artistic and bold, and that is what the purpose of art is. To be real and true.” Retro has been an integral part of our early, past days and has been blended in our souls, she continues. “The exhibition got this element from our souls onto the canvas; hence it is also a most soulful event.” Many of the artists participating in RR 2.0 are known for their work in other genres; but they have come out here to make bold with a different style.
“The artists have created an extraordinary collection of Retro art pieces,” concludes Sonal, “and Double Tree By Hilton is definitely the most apt venue to support such an event. Its restaurants and interiors are already retro themed. That’s the reason we chose this place for our Retro art exhibition.” She says “no” to the idea that Retro does not fit into Dubai’s vision of being a futuristic place.
“Dubai has always embraced all kinds of art and cultures,” she says. Retro style refers to new things that display characteristics of the past. It is a style that is imitative or consciously derivative of lifestyles, trends, or art forms from the historical past, including in music, modes, fashions, or attitudes. One can also call it a “nostalgia” style, relevant typically for two decades that are 20–30 years before the current one.
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It is scheduled to run till March 19. On display are offerings from a cross-section of art disciplines, ranging from mixed media, fashion, music and dance, to sustainability, digital art, photography, graffiti, sculptures, and more. Non
She is a Pakistani national, based in Dubai. An award winner and self-taught artist, her work is a reflection of her understanding of the universe and the constant changes and transformation that takes place within and around us.
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