Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mumbai Hosts An Art Exhibition With A Transforming Vision

  • A lifetime passion for stained glass arts
  • A mission to introduce stained glass paintings in Indian temples
  • A global presence with outstanding works

Mumbai, 18th March, 2016:  Today, in a brief yet significant ceremony, in presence of several connoisseurs of art, journalists and many others, Padma Bhushan, Sri Deepak Parekh, the Chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC Ltd.) inaugurated veteran artist Ila Sonawala’s exhibition on Stained Glass Paintings.
Stained glass painting means joining of colour or white glasses and making a simple or complicated design. When light passes through the coloured or white glasses, it enhances the beauty of the picture. In all ages, Indian art has been enriched through the influence of foreign trends and practices. Painting on stained glass is also one such art form that has been quite popular in this sub-continent since the latter half of the nineteenth century. However, most of the antique pieces were based on mere designs, which were mostly found in old churches or palatial buildings.
The eye-catching art works of Ila, one of the first generation Indian artists who experimentally pioneered tinging of different thoughts on this medium, will remain on display up to 21. 03. 2016 (Monday) at Swami Prempuri Ashram, Ground Floor Hall, Swami Prempuri Chowk, Babulnath, Mumbai – 400007. The exhibition timing is 10am to 8pm, however on Monday it will remain open from 9am to 8pm.
The show, exhibiting around 22 stained glass paintings of different sizes – including two pieces of 6ft X 2ft frame size, is a mixed presentation of Italian, medieval and Victorian style. Ila’s works can claim their distinction owing to the themes of the paintings. Mostly based on images of Indian gods and goddesses in different postures, her paintings are not mere designs – each work represents a distinct personality. So, those are far beyond cyclic repetition of the (same) coloured glass pieces that we commonly find in windows and church walls. Rather she deserves credit for patient and thoughtful placing and joining of the glass pieces.
In the last 35 years, Ila has done more than 500 stained glass panels, lamp murals, skylight doors, windows, dividers etc. In 2000, she learnt the technique of bringing permanency in the stained glass paintings through annealing in a furnace. So, most of her later works are permanent in nature. Also, her works are on toughened glass, which are not easily breakable.
Basically being an MSc in organic chemistry, Ila started her career in the USA as a Research Assistant in the Food & Nutrition Department of the Washington State University. Later she completely switched over to the world of Stained Glass Painting, which reflects her great passion for Art.
Some of Ila’s outstanding stained glass works are being permanently displayed at:  
  • The dome of Shapoorji Palonji's Bungalow at Walkeshwar, Mumbai
  • Skylight at Mr. Cyrus Mistry's Residence, Mumbai
  • Murals for Mr. Vijay Mallaya, Bengaluru
  • Panels for Anil Ambani's Sea Wind Building, Mumbai
  • Huge Shreenathji Panel at Vallabh Darshan Building, Nathdwara 
  • Through Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani and Ms. Kokilabhen Ambani 
  • Arjun & Krishna Geeta Sar Panels at Madhavbaug Temple, Mumbai
  • Saraswati Mata, Durga Mata, & Laxmi Mata  panels at Mahalaxmi Temple, Mumbai
  • Zorashtra  Panel at Parsi Agiari, Navsari, Gujarat
  • Jishu Panel near Goa
  • Ganpati Panel, Atlanta, USA 

While explaining the idea behind painting gods and goddesses in this medium, she revealed, “Throughout my life I have seen beautiful stained glass paintings in many churches, then I started thinking why can’t we beautify our temples also with this fantastic form of art? Thus…”

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