Entrancing peepal portraits

There can be no doubt that horses hold an extra-special place in the heart of artist and designer Sandesh Rangnekar. The artist has been displaying a collection of horses both on canvas as well as on skeletal peepal leaves at the City Seasons Hotel since almost a month. The month-long art exhibitions are part of the hotels initiative to give artists a platform to display their works free of charge, under their WOW (Wednesday on Walls) initiative in the hotels Al Makan Café.

While the exhibition opened for public viewing in the first week of July, it was only officially inaugurated last week by the Minister of Commerce, Mr Sunaidi.
Inspired by his father, Sadashiv Rangnekar who was a fine artist himself, Sandesh graduated from the reputed Raheja School of Arts, Mumbai.
As an adult, Sandesh’s preoccupation with his career in commercial art left him with little or no time for his art. But moving to Oman eight years ago changed his life completely.
Oman picturesque landscaqpe and natural beauty inspired the artist to pick up a paint brush after 15 years. “Here in Oman, I see art and beauty in every aspect of life and nature. I was able to rediscover my passion for art”.
Talking about his peepal leaf painting Sandesh explains “peepal leaves paintings require patience and precision. It5 is an ancient art of India. Nowadays few artists like to paint on peepal leaves. Rangnekar, however is keen to keep this art form alive.
According to the artist, peepal leaves were used for writing before the invention of paper. It is one of the oldest forms of art which shows the ingeniousness and patience of the artist.
.One of his key accomplishments are his paintings of His Majesty Sultan Bin Qaboos. Every water colour depiction is a stroke of genius celebrating the life of His Majesty – starting from his early years until the present day.
“All of the paintings we have seen of His Majesty so far have been of his recent days; not too many people have seen his earlier portraits and I wanted to break this mould and create something different. These portraits, all done in water colours, are different shades of His Majesty,” says Sandesh.
Rangnekar’s 11-year-old son Ojas is already showing signs of becoming a good artist like his father. Some of his paintings are also on display along with his frathers at the City Seasons Hotel.