Plainsboro Public Library – November 2018 – The Plainsboro Library welcomes Plainsboro artists Leena Thakar-Bagawde, and Shekhar P. Bagawde with their exhibit of traditional Indian painting and Marathi and English calligraphy. Executed with brilliant color, intricate design, and attention to decorative framing, Leena Bagawde’s acrylic paintings represent tradition and aesthetics of Indian cultural style of painting. Some of her paintings include depictions of deities, mythological characters and historical figures. Shekhar Bagawde executes Marathi vowels and poems, and Sanskrit Shloka/Mantras in skillful calligraphic brushwork. The exhibit is timely, as much of the artwork helps celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which takes place in early November this year. The public is invited to an art reception on Sunday, November 4, 2 – 4 pm, where the Bagawde’s will be on hand to discuss their work. The exhibit runs October 27 – November 28, 2018.

Leena is originally from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and received her BFA in Fine Arts from the renowned JJ Institute of Applied Art, in Mumbai. After moving to the USA, she continued her art education at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer and animation artist with various organizations such as TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), and various publishing houses and design studios, and is presently a freelance illustrator and graphic designer in the book publishing industry. Leena loves working with different mediums in addition to painting, including sketching, collage, and clay; she conducts clay and painting workshops for both adults and children. Included in the exhibit will be paintings by Leena of Indian gods and goddesses from mythology. Lord Ganesh, the god of intelligence represented by the elephant, will be depicted in an acrylic painting on shaped plywood, and accompanied by Shekhar’s calligraphic Mantra. Goddess Saraswati, of knowledge and art, rides on a peacock. The painting of the peacock is depicted in the simple and decorative Indian folk art style called Warli.

Leena and Shekhar, who is originally from Thane, a city neighboring Mumbai, met at a design studio in Mumbai, and soon became good friends and then life partners. Shekhar works in the software and services industry. He is a user experience designer, problem solver, and a creative thinker with skills in crafting engaging experiences that address user needs and enhance business value. Shekhar is also a calligrapher and a typography enthusiast; these were his specializations while studying for his under-graduate degree at LS Raheja School of Arts, Mumbai. He has worked with advertising agencies and design studios as a freelance calligrapher and hand-lettering artist. There is a distinction between these two forms of art: Calligraphy is a form of fine writing. It is visually expressive and mostly done using tools such as nibs or brush and ink. With a few traditional calligraphy styles, these letterforms generally follow a system of rules such as heights, line spacing, and angles. In hand-lettering, the letterforms are drawn, illustrated or constructed and this style tends to bend rules to create a good composition. Both types of writing will be in the show, and in some cases, the lettering becomes part of a photo composite of related objects. Shekhar’s work can be seen on instagram @shekharbagawde.

The Plainsboro Library is located at 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro, NJ. Hours are 10-8:30 Monday – Thursday, and 10-5 Friday – Sunday. For more information, call 609-275-2897.

Donna Senopoulos
Plainsboro Public Library

Leena and Shekhar Bagawde