Artist Marcus Hodge’s Indian fascination on display at new London exhibition

Artist Marcus Hodge’s Indian fascination on display at new London exhibition
Rajasthan Horse Fair; Marcus Hodge

Marcus Hodge is a successful British artist who first travelled to India in 2000, the start of his intense fascination with the country. Ten or eleven visits followed and led him to explore a variety of techniques, figurative and near abstract.

The spiritual quality, landscape, culture, and ancient traditions of India became the driving force of his first exhibition in 2001, and many others that followed – in London and the US.

His great grandparents and grandparents, who brought him up, were all in India either in the services or commerce. His immediate family have worked to establish a school for girls in Jaipur for 20 years.

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Rajasthan Horse Fair; Marcus Hodge
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Now, to prepare for his new show this month, he has been travelling for two years, especially in India and Spain, to record equestrian life, its festivals and gatherings. The Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan holds a particular fascination.

Hodge notes: “Every year the small town comes to life with thousands of visitors. Tribal families from the villages in the Thar Desert arrive over many days, many in camel trains with horses and cattle to trade, a chance to exchange news and enjoy one of India’s most colourful gatherings.

“Tiny streets are packed with religious pilgrims and visitors, a riot of colour and noise. But venture a few minutes out into the desert and the atmosphere changes. A sea of tents and campfires, thousands of horses, camels, and cattle, and an air of quiet, deliberate purpose as the animals are cared for and the all-important trading is conducted.

“Some of the finest Marwari horses are to be seen here racing up and down between the tents. But everywhere there are quieter, more intimate scenes unfolding.”

It is some of these magical scenes that he has covered for his Osborne Studio Gallery show, which opens this week.

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From Andalusia to India, this collection of paintings brings together images from a number of trips over the last two years. Hodge (born 1966) explores the world of the horse, from the Marwari horses of Rajasthan, the international circus horses of Monaco, to the thoroughbreds and Arab horses of the Middle East.

These paintings have a unifying theme – a celebration of festivals and religious gatherings where animals play a part or merely stand by as part of the spectacle.

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