When Akbar met Caravaggio
Characters from art and history communicate with cityfolk in Schon Mendes’ mammoth paintings that are also partial memoirs, finds Ornella D’Souza
t’s impossible to read the multiple stories that spring forth from a Schon Mendes’ larger- than- life canvas in a jiffy. The nine 6ftx5ft paintings at his solo debut titled Cameos of a city at Sakshi Gallery, Colaba, are each labyrinth pockets of discordant subplots, meant for scrutiny only at a leisurely pace.
“I depict how, in a city, the life of one person is interlinked with that of another, and as members of society, all that we do influences others who are part of this whole,” says the soft- spoken 29- year- old, who took three months to complete each painting. The MS Baroda alumni was tutored under professors, artists Rekha Rodwittiya and Surendran Nair, from whom, he says, he’s learnt the strict discipline of long hours of studio practice, an awareness of one’s socio- political reality, and that art and life are interconnected and inseparable.