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While vibrant metropolises and fleeting moments are the first thing one notices when looking at the works of Bahrain-based artist Tejbir Singh, his latest solo exhibition draws viewers in for a glimpse of infinity itself.
In his exhibition The Vanishing Point, which opened last night at the Art Concept gallery in Andalus Garden in Gudaibiya, Tejbir uses soft pastels, markers, pencil colours, watercolours on paper and oil on canvas to capture striking shots from his travels around the world.
“I am especially inspired by moments during sunset and at night, because scenes, from a distance, as I like to draw them, really come alive with vibrant colours, shadows and perspectives during those times,” the 61-year-old Indian architect told GulfWeekly during a tour of the exhibition, ahead of its inauguration by the Indian embassy’s political, press, information and culture second secretary Ihjas Aslam.
“My surroundings inspire me. This inspiration could come from the footprints in the sand or the play of lights and shadows at night. But in most cases, it’s the urban fabric around me, the architecture and heritage, which finds its way into my art.”
His many inspirations include the Pearling Path in Muharraq, downtown Toronto (Canada), snowscapes in Boston (US), the cobbled streets of Seville (Spain) as well as the vibrant street scenes and bustling squares of central London (UK), Bremen (Germany) and Prague (Czech Republic).
The exhibition encompasses a curated selection of works created during the span of more than 10 years, and in each of them, subtle yet stunning is the ‘vanishing point’ – a spot on the horizon line where parallel lines appear to meet as they disappear into infinity.
“A vanishing point is a key in many works of art,” he added.
“It allows the artist to create drawings, paintings, and photographs that have a three-dimensional look.”
Most of Tejbir’s pieces are inspired by street scenes that captured his imagination. A piece illustrating the construction of The Avenue mall, for example, was inspired when he was driving along the highway and noticed that the workers at the site, from a distance, looked like brightly-coloured ants and beetles hard at work.
He took a photo and then immortalised the scene, setting it against Bahrain’s growing cityscape in the background.
After working on quick sketches and taking pictures, he often revisits the spaces to absorb the scenery and capture its essence and details.
“I like to capture the mysterious effect of lights and shadows and how an ordinary scene gets transformed into a beautiful one,” he added.
“I love the way the beautiful colours of the sunset convert the landscape into something magical. I am also fascinated by aerial views, which lend a different and more complete view of the city.”
Tejbir has been a doodler and painter since he was young, having experimented with oil, pastels, charcoal, pen and ink.
Over the years, he has participated in solo and group exhibitions and art fairs in Bahrain, India, US and the UK.
His exhibition at Nehru Centre London in 2018, titled, From an Architect’s Travelogue, featured urban landscapes from his travels from London and Europe. These mirror his inspiration and fascination with architectural heritage and the urban fabric of cities.
He was chosen as the top mixed media artist in the Middle East by Destig Magazine in the same year.
His painting Rest @ Piccadilly was chosen as one of the 10 finalists in the ART BOX art exhibition in New York in March 2018.
He also participated in a group exhibition at the Artefact Art Gallery, in Manhattan, USA, in 2019. His exhibition there focused on the cityscapes of New York and particularly aerial views, celebrating the built environment of the city dweller.
However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, he took a break, especially since travel around the world was restricted. This break turned out to be a boon, as it gave him another opportunity to rediscover Bahrain, and his latest muse – the Pearling Path.
“I go there quite regularly and every time, there’s something that inspires me in the narrow alleys – it’s remarkable how beautifully the streets have been restored,” he added, as he talked about his own contribution to the Unesco heritage site, as part of the team of local architects working on the Pearling Path Visitor and Experience Centre.
“I am grateful to this beautiful island, Bahrain, for reviving my art, which I had put on hold.”
For details, follow @tejbirart on Instagram.