Even as we’re days away from celebrating International Tiger Day, news of an adult tigress being brutally beaten up in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh is doing the rounds. Tigers around the world succumb to such man-animal conflicts, resulting in the drastic dwindling of their numbers. Concentrated efforts need to be put in for their conservation, and creating awareness about the threat faced by tigers is a good place to start. The exhibition ‘Save the Tiger’, curated by gallerist Kalpana Shah and artist Fawad Tamkanat, takes a leap in this direction.
But the exhibition doesn’t overwhelm you with written details about the tiger. Instead, it gently nudges you in the direction of discovery by presenting artworks that draw out the beauty, charisma and power of this regal beast. And that’s why, on stepping into the gallery, one feels like one has stepped onto a patch of wilderness overrun by the big cat.
Wall after wall is covered with photographs and paintings that capture the tiger mid-move and mid-mood. In the photographs of Raj Salgaokar, Isheta Salgaokar, Rajesh Khanna and Urvi Piramal, we see the tiger in its natural habitat, engaged in mundane pursuit like bathing, dozing in a verdant patch, playing with siblings or even sitting stalk still, gazing into the camera. A similar candidness is captured in the paintings of Sushma Jain.