Elephants appear in a number of Husain’s works from this period and this is in part derived from his interest in the classical arts, namely sculpture and its depiction of the elephant god, Ganesha. Elephants have had a long association with India, as symbols of strength, nobility and grace. They symbolize an ancient rural India that has been lost to deforestation, urbanization and globalization. Inspired by the people and animals that populated the walls of the temples at Khajuraho and other cities, Husain created a few works replete with women, men and a variety of animals.
In the present work Husain has used heavy impasto and thick gestural brushstrokes to emphasize the elephants and surrounding figures. He also uses color to divide the picture plane into areas of light and dark, less for the sake of achieving a chiaroscuro effect than to powerfully draw attention to the figures and elephants. Through the careful use of pigments, Husain leaves the protagonists expressionless, casting them as ciphers for human emotion rather than connecting them to any event or subject. 'His figures suddenly became anonymous. They existed on the picture plane without any specific locale or identity. They possessed a static poise, a slow languorous deliberateness.' (G. Kapur, Husain, Vakil & Sons Private Ltd., Bombay, p. 4)
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