Halcyon Gallery presents Avatar, an exhibition by Indian artist Jagannath Panda and Russian artist Dashi Namdakov that weaves a tale of mythology, spirituality and religion. The 10 paintings and 4 sculptures by Jagannath Panda explore the clichés and social issues from pre-independent to contemporary 21st Century India while Dashi Namdakov’s mysterious sculptures submerge the viewer into the world of ancient legends, horsemen, warriors, shamans and Buddhist lamas. This will be Jagannath Panda’s first exhibition with Halcyon Gallery.

“Jagannath Panda is as much a marker of an evolving urbanscape as he is a participant in it” - Bhaarati Chaturevdi (art critic and columnist for Business Standard newspaper)

As well as being deeply affected by the traditional culture of Odisha in India, Panda cites as influences Conceptual artist On Kawara and the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. In his earliest works, he experimented with different media on paper, mixing collage and drawing techniques to explore the role of iconography in communication and to comment upon socio-political situations in contemporary India. His signature technique, used in both paintings and sculptures, is to incorporate traditional brocade fabrics into their surfaces, often becoming the skins of beasts, the bark of trees, or the garments of mythological figures. On both paper and canvas, his detailed drawings recall the palm-leaf manuscripts of Odisha, while the characters in his works are often lifted directly from the epic sagas of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

“In 2005 I moved to Guragon – which was a really surprising space for me. Because when I had conversations with my neighbours I realised that they all come from a different utopia, and that everybody has their own ideas of living life. In my works, through the landscape I try to create a human space. We live together but you don’t know your neighbours. You don’t meet/talk with them. I play with all these ideas together, but rather than giving a serious meaning to them I enjoy them.“ - Jagannath Panda

Jagannath Panda often uses animal forms in his paintings. He paints and sculpts animals with an innocent wonder, usually embellishing their surfaces with metallic fabrics or shimmering colours, as if to amplify their inherent magical powers. Panda’s animals function as icons, albeit those we recognize from Hindu mythology which constantly transmogrify, and as forms available in infinite variety.

Jagannath Panda is one of the most prominent artists in India, with exhibitions both in public and private institutions world-wide his work is highly regarded by international collectors. Panda has exhibited widely, with solo gallery shows in Tokyo (1998), London (2006, 2009), Berlin (2011) and San Francisco (2012) as well as frequent exhibitions in New Delhi and Mumbai. Jagannath Panda was born in 1970 in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India and Lives and works in New Delhi, India.

Incorporating elements of shamanic mythology as well as the ancient art of China and Japan, Dashi Namdakov invents intricate and powerful imagery, combining the spiritual traditions of the past with present day realities. While reminiscent of the great cultures of the bronze ages and illustrating myths and legends of remote times, his art is also born out of contemporary culture and imbued with a background of rigorous academic training.

“There are living beings that transform themselves into animals, others that change into plants or flowers ... there are statues that become animated and people that become statues or stones. Hence the feeling of a universe in perpetual alteration.” - Maurizio Vanni

By fusion and fantasy Dashi Namdakov works to create his own novel dimension to contemporary art, his mesmerising figures and animals are real yet shrouded in mystery. In this lucid and conscious way a world is created of fictional heroes who look simultaneously fantastic and strikingly authentic.

“Through the borderline state between the real world and the world inhabited by illusions and spirits, all my works are part of my spirit and soul.” - Dashi Namdakov

Namdakov has worked on many public art sculptures including projects in Kazakhstan, the Republic of Buryatia and the State Hermitage, St Petersberg, Russia. In 2011 he was awarded the title of Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. Namdakov has also been accepted into the Russian Academy of Cinematoraphic Arts after receiving an award for his role as Art Director on the film Mongol: The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan.