Rekha Hebbar Rao

Rekha Rao Hebbar studied painting under her eminent artist father K K Hebbar and holds a post graduate in History, Bombay University.

 

Her paintings are an inter-play of visual experiences gleaned from her surroundings. They are a conflation of association. The search is for a grammar of colours which will effectively illuminate her response towards events and happenings that serve as a trigger. She works on paper and canvas.

 

Rekha’s works are in the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai , Lalit Kala Akademi , New Delhi. Singapore National Museum, Fukuoka Gallery Japan and Venkatappa Gallery Bengaluru besides several private collectors.

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Rekha’s artistic journey has been unusual and perhaps even extraordinary, a result of an amalgamation of coincidence, destiny and circumstances. Born in 1947, during the year that India gained independence, she grew up in an artistic and politically charged environment that shaped her art practice to a large extent. In a newly formed nation, artists grappled with notions of identity and with reconciling the past with current global phenomena and trends. Politics, society, tradition and geography were key to charting discourses in the creative fields and influenced Rekha as well.

 

Amidst this, Rekhas’s father, the illustrious K K Hebbar played a vital role in guiding and mentoring her. She grew up in Mumbai in a culturally rich and vibrant environment. Their home was a center of creative activity where artists from The Progressive Arts Group – F N Souza, K H Ara, S H Raza, M F Husain, S K Bakre and H A Gade were frequent visitors. So were several other well known painters, sculptors, writers, dancers and musicians. N S Bendre, K G Subramanian, B C Sanyal, P T Reddy, Sankho Choudhuri, Dr Shivaram Karanth, S A Krishnan, S V Vasu and Mulkraj Anand, among others frequented their home and held ardent discussions. Rekha had the rare opportunity to observe, listen and learn from some of the doyens from various creative fields. She recalls that once, F N Souza at dinner, sketched their family portrait and at another instance, Bimal Roy’s film Do Bigha Jameen was screened on their terrace for the building residents. An assortment of such events underlined their privileged position and highlighted Hebbar’s keen interest in social issues. His socialist concerns ensured that the children contribute and give back to society, and Rekha conducted workshops for underprivileged children for ten years, in Mumbai. This concern for environment and the less fortunate has nurtured Rekha’s art practice and is frequently reflected in her paintings.

 

As a child, from the age of four, Rekha sketched and painted alongside her father, who went through each and every work of hers with immense pride. Hebbar believed that a formal art education would hamper her individuality and creative expression and encouraged her to study Indian History. He continued to mentor her through discussions, debates and regular practice. Reminiscing about her father, Rekha writes, he once said, inspiration from his children, especially Rekha - ‘whose view ceaselessly refreshed my own artistic perspective’. Rekha’s first art exhibition was held at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1969. The foreword to this show was written by Karl Khandalawala, an eminent lawyer and authority on Indian Miniature Paintings, who had also been a mentor to Amrita Sher-Gil. Rekha was married the same year and then traveled to Los Angeles where she lived for two years. Khandalawala was in fact, instrumental in introducing her to the art world in Los Angeles. The experience of living in the United States enriched her understanding of global art, and writings related to feminism, gender and social inequity deepened her world view. This enabled her to revisit, review and reposition her beliefs, theories and principles related to ‘home’ and art.

 

Rekha’s art has always been an intuitive process, a response to her environment and surroundings - she found inspiration in the world around her – markets, villages, cities, films and literature. From her early works, exhibited in the United States, which were primarily abstract, Rekha found herself drawn to a semi abstract vocabulary that was anchored in the primacy of colours. A deeply entrenched Indian sensibility and connect to her roots, is reflected in splashes of colours and motifs that are characteristically part of the Indian heritage. These are markers derived from cultural, religious and social associations. A modicum of figural elements completes the narrative.

 

Rekha has made a conscious effort to ascertain and establish her own identity, her individuality, unfettered by expectations and one that is distinct from her father’s style. Over the years, she has evolved as a colourist – lyrical in its purity and intensity. Childhood memories have often been represented as a kaleidoscope of colours on the canvas, and she elaborates, “Colour has the power to embody and invoke light within each painting.” As a child her father often said that a painting is not a literal exercise where the viewer has to be supplied with a long explanation. “But it is the story of the artist, and whose vocabulary comprises the shapes, surface, texture and colour on the canvas.” Rekha remains a storyteller, weaving colours, textures and motifs into a layered narrative. In 2003, she moved to Bangalore and has lived here since. She continues to work actively for issues close to her heart and runs a non-governmental organization Mali for underprivileged women. She is also a Trustee of the K K Hebbar Art Foundation, which supports deserving artists and art projects.

Excerpt from "FRAMES OF EXISTENCE"

by Nalini S Malaviya  

Solo Exhibitions

2019

2015

2009

2006

2006, 1995

2006

2001, '96, '92, '88, '85, '82, '69

2000

2000

Bengaluru International Center, Bengaluru

Gallerie De’Arts, Barton Centre, Bengaluru

Gallery Time and Space, Bengaluru
Gallery Sumukha, Bengaluru
Cymroza Gallery, Mumbai
Forum Gallery, Chennai
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai‘

Gallerie Renaissance, Bengaluru
Sans Tache Gallery, Mumbai

1993, '81

1987

1986

1985

1985

 

1982

1975, '71

1973

Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi

Sakshi Gallery, Chennai & Bengaluru
Gallery Nidus, Sydney, Australia
Gallery Unverzagt, Germany
Gallery K, Geneva & ICCR sponsored show
at Bonn Centre
Urja, Gallery, Baroda
Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
I. Serisawa Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

1987

1986

1985

1985

 

1982

1975, '71

1973

Sakshi Gallery, Chennai & Bengaluru
Galery Nidus, Sydney, Australia
Gallery Unverzagt, Germany
Gallery K, Geneva & ICCR sponsored show
at Bonn Centre
Urja, Gallery, Baroda
Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
I. Serisawa Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

Group Exhibitions

2019

2018

2017

2015

2015

2015

2015

2015, '08

2014, '06

2016

2014

2008

2008

2008

2008, '07

2007

2007, '06

2006

2005, '03

2005, '02, 01

2004

2004

2004

2003

2003, '97,

'95, '88

Bid & Hammer Auction House

Gallery Revees, Bengaluru
50 Years of Karnataka Contemporary Art
In the Light(ness) of Being, Kanoria Centre for Arts,
Ahmedabad
Art Mantram, Bengaluru
Show by artists, Art Camp,Jaipur, ICCR sponsored
Gallerie Renaisance, Artists Without Boundaries,Bengaluru

Gallery Kalakriti, Hyderabad

Galerie SaraArakkal, Bengaluru
Gallery Ganges Eternal, Bengaluru On High Ground of
Indian Art. Eastern and Southern Dimension,
Curator Soma Das
Deccan Hues, organized by Suruchi Art Gallery,
NOIDA . UP
Point-of View Gallery, Mumbai,
Delhi Art Summit Fair, Gallery Cymroza,
Delhi Art Summit Fair Dhoomimal Gallery
The Noble Sage Gallery, London, UK
Galeria de Belas Arts, GOA
CCPA, in aid of Childhood Cancer patients
Cymroza Gallery
HARMONY show, Mumbai
Gallery Sumukha, Bengaluru
Concern India art auctions, Mumbai
‘Drishti‘ Show organized by ICICI Bank
At LKA Reg .center Chennai, Curator Radha Venuprasad
CHIVAS ART ALIVE, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Curator Poonam Sarin
The Feminine Eye, Galerie Sara Arakkal, Bengaluru
SIAN’s fn-fn, auction of contemporary Art
Curator Neville Tuli, Mumbai
Art for CRY Mumbai

2000

1999

1998

1997

1997

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

1992

1992

1991

1991

1991

1991

1989

1989

1986

1978

1976

1975

1972

Crimson the Art Resource, Mumbai
Women for WISE, auction conducted by ‘Christies’, Mumbai
‘WINDOWS’ for NAB, auction conducted by Sotheby’s, Mumbai
1997 Contemporary Artists of Mumbai
50th Year of India’s Independence, NGMA, Mumbai
IMAGE BEYOND IMAGE Coll. Masanori Fukuoka NGMA, Mumbai
Cymroza Gallery, Silver Jubilee Show, Mumbai
A Tree in my Life, The Village Gallery, New Delhi,
Curator Dolly Narang
Art for ‘SAVE THE CHILDREN’ Auction
Conducted by Sotheby’s,Mumbai
‘CHITRANJALI’ auction by Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Kolkata
HELPAGE INDIA” auction conducted by ‘Asprey’s,Mumbai
Gallery LTG, N Delhi
Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Western region Artists, Mumbai

Sakshi Gallery, Chennai & Bengaluru
‘Images of Joy & Despair’, 9 Contemporary Artists, Gallery Joshua, Singapore
Artists Against Communalism Images & Words, Sahamat, N Delhi
Exhibition of selected artists, Gallery Espace, New Delhi
‘Homage to Pandit Nehru’, Lalit Kala Akademi, N Delhi
Bombay Art Society’s Centenary Show, Mumbai
Asian Biennale, Dhaka,Bangladesh
Lalit Kala Akademi, N Delhi 1V Triennale, India
The International Music & Arts Society, Bengaluru
Under the aegis of Rani Vijaya Devi
Surya Gallery, Germany
I Serisawa Gallery Los Angeles

Art Camps

2016

2016

2008

2007

2007

2006

 

2006

2006

All India Artists Camp, Tanjavoor, SBI (Bank)
All India Artists Camp Scandinavia, Mogae Ind.
All India Artists’ Camp, Uttaranchal
Organised by Galerie SaraArakkal,Bengaluru
National Art Camp, Phuket,Thailand org. by Sanjeev Kapoor
All India Art Camp, Mysuru by Gallery Indus, N Delhi
All India Art Camp, Nandi Hills,
Bengaluru. Dept. of Kannada & Culture
All India Art Camp’ Mumbai
Organised by Cancer Patients Aid Association
All India Art Camp, SAHARA, Amby Valley
UNDP, AIDS awareness project

2005

2000

2000

1997

1994

 

1990

 

1989

Workshop conducted for SPIC MACAY Manipal Campus, Manipal
National Camp, MSIL, Chikamagllur
National Art Camp Lalit Kala Akademi,Goa
Art Camp, org. Gallery Sumukha, Kathmandu, Nepal
International Artists Camp, Jaipur VIII Triennial, India
Organised by Lalit kala Akademi, New Delhi
Conducted workshops for Mohile Parekh Centre for Visual Arts,Mumbai
Art Camp, Lucknow, LKA Reg..centre,UP

Awards

2014

2006

2003

1978

1977

1976, '75

1976

1971

Art MANTRAM — Women Achiever’s Award

Suvarna Karnataka Rajyotsava Award

G S Shenoy Memorial Award

Maharashtra State Art Exhibition, Mumbai

Lalit kala Akademi, Lucknow, UP

Hyderabad Art Society, Award

Bombay Art Society, Mumbai

Critic’s Award, Artists Centre, Mumbai

Collections

Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Glennbara Museum, Meiji, Japan
Lalit Kala Akademy, New Delhi
Venkatappa art Gallery, Bengaluru
Collection MSIL, Bengaluru
Directorate of Art Maharashtra State
Times of India, Mumbai
Many private Collection like WIPRO, Harmony, SBI In India & abroad