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    Exploring urban spaces, Bhavna Sonawane’s new series of paintings is a trip down memory lane.

    Thane-based artist Bhavna Sonawane likes to paint only when she is happy. Her canvas is a comforting representation of the blending of two worlds in fantasy landscapes—with acrylic, metallic paints, and gold and silver leaf. Brought up in a Mumbai chawl as a child, the 37-year-old  still holds on to the warmth shared in the crammed existence, but says she doesn’t like going back to the city. “We would have shifts to sleep inside and outside the chawl. It was congested. That was Mumbai for me.” An exhibition of her latest works, The World According to Bhavna, will be on display at Apparao Galleries, from April 12.

    The geometrical structures on her canvas—comprising mostly buildings, houses and domes—are a mix of the urban spaces she has seen in Mumbai and Paris (where she did an art residency programme in 2007). Sonawane has consciously kept the urban commotion and the related ugliness out of her work. “A lot of artists like to reveal pain and frustration on the canvas. I decided I won’t do the same. I create what I would like to buy as a viewer,” she says. The use of the Modi script (a cursive variant of an ancient Indian script) lends a lyrical fluidity to her lines. The greyness of a boxed existence is pleasantly absent in her style.  The trees in her works in this series stand beautifully as the symbols of life.
    As a child, she travelled a lot with her father, a zoology professor, and warmed up to two different worlds: Mumbai’s crammed spaces and Matheran’s nature. “I was fascinated by the big housefly,” recalls the artist, who used  insects as symbols in her (2008) work. What would she like to do next? “I recently attended an artists’ camp where we talked about creating organic colours. I’d like to create and use them,” she says.
    Till April 28. Details: 28332226

    —Sumati Mehrishi


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