Daniel Raphael Gallery: Turmeric gives flavour of Indian street scenes

Under the Indian Trees

Under the Indian Trees - Credit: Archant

Bridget Galton hears about an exhibition where the artworks are steeped in the spice

Four British artists take inspiration from India for an exhibition in Marylebone that is both named after – and features – the spice turmeric.

The quartet show pieces created during a prestigious residency in India which capture the country’s vibrant markets and streetscapes. Most of the work carries traces of the yellow Indian spice used to flavour many dishes.

Matthew Cunningham, Christabel Forbes, Tyga Helme, and Lottie Stoddart spent several months last year in the town of Modinagar near New Delhi after winning the residency through the Royal Drawing School and International Institute of Fine Arts.

Funded by the Modi Foundation (founded by Satish and Abha Modi) they stayed in the Modi family’s ancestral home and spent time teaching students at Modinagar’s university as well as exploring and drawing the local street scenes.

All four attended The Royal Drawing School which raises the profile of drawing and offers quality tuition to help artists develop their observational drawing.

The result is work that is strikingly colourful and uses turmeric as a base coat to give an otherworldly evocative glow.

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Works include Finest Jewellers of Old Delhi by London-based 26-year-old Christabel Forbes, a vivid street scene, depicting the heat and buzz of the town market with deep shades and busy lines which continue her exploration of the power of human existence in specific locations.

Sculptor and artist Cunningham draws inspiration from dance, performance and the practice of Zen Buddhism.

Tyga Helme, a 27-year-old who makes work from life, evokes the country’s dynamic atmosphere with loose forms doused in rich tones, palm fronds swaying into frame and hazy figures shimmering on the edge of focus.

And Lottie Stoddart, who examines relationships between objects, places and people and is often drawn to decaying or forgotten parts of the modern and ancient world, has created paintings and sculptural pieces such as Shrine 1 painted inside a reclaimed box that opens onto a colourful market scene, laden with hanging objects.

Stoddart said of her time spent in India: “It never leaves you”.

Turmeric runs at Daniel Raphael Gallery in Church Street, Marylebone until July 10.