Birds Flew in the Sky Above the Churches and Mosques

Ben Kenning

Artist Statement: In late 2015 I completed an artist’s residency at Space 118, Mazgaon, a vibrant district in south Mumbai, India near the dockyards of the city. 
Mumbai shocked and overwhelmed me, the juxtaposition with my world in Australia was so great. I substituted the subject matter and content of my practice at home with that of my new day to day experience. This took the form of the jumbled scenes I witnessed whilst walking the streets, where activity, sound, motion and the melting pot of cultural influences merged creating the unique environment that is Mumbai.
The works in this collection contain a range of vibrant day to day scenes and subjects common to the city of Mumbai including, the hustle and bustle of the streets, deities such as the mighty Ganesh, savage fighting street dogs, the paan man, holy places such as mosques and churches, representation of rituals and custom, people going about their day to day, taxi’s barreling through the streets and other unique impressions of the urban surroundings.

Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 138 x 134 cms
Date: 2015
Condition: New

CHG Director's Statement: Ben Kenning's new paintings complimented the culture, busyness, frenetic activity and colours so much a part of India! Also he was influenced by the disintegration of the cities infrastructure through the passage of time and the effects of nature. He observed the half stage of ruin versus new structures rising. This phenomena is reflected in some of the exhibition workings. Do you regard your Indian experience a game changer? Ben said it was the most consistent body of work he'd produced for a long time. He reinforced the strength, style and alternate subject matter to respond to was a positive development as opposed to working from the imagination alone. The influence of being in and experiencing India was important and the universal theme for the show. He feels he has developed a mastery and control over his art process which was exhilarating.

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