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A Bird’s Eye View

Thoughts from the Studio

Ranbir Kaleka


My studio is out of bounds. Our house abuts a park, the skies are clear and I sit on a bench in the balcony with a book and a camera.

The camera: The peepal tree’s new buds draw many birds to it and I photograph them. This demands patience and makes for a kind of dreamy meditation. Both the clear skies and bird-photography are new to me and a gift of the Corona-days.

I am sharing some photos with you: Purple sunbird, Female sunbird, and Coppersmith Barbet (Basanta).

The book: Flights is a novel about travel in the twenty-first century and human anatomy, broaching life, death, motion and migration… this is the introduction to the book by Olga Tokarczuk. The author brings a hyper-awareness of the physical and the mental lives of the book’s denizens which obliquely resonate with the travails of the body and mind in the time of Corona. I am also making some preparatory images for a painting which attempts to reflect on these conditions.

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This is part of a series called ‘Thoughts from the Studio’ initiated by the Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. Published here in collaboration with the gallery.

Ranbir Kaleka, a major multi-media artist, studied painting at the College of Art, Punjab University, and the Royal College of Art in London. His work encompasses a wide range – from paintings on paper and canvas to photography, video art, and installations. His work has been widely exhibited in India and elsewhere.