Monday, September 26, 2011

Harish Saluja: Progression Tranforms Simple into Art


Today's date: September 23, 2011

Harish Saluja: Progression

September 23 - November 13, 2011

707 Penn Gallery

PITTSBURGH, PA: While doodling is generally seen as something anyone can do, local artist Harish Saluja transforms seemingly simple drawings into richly intricate and colorful works of art. Saluja’s latest series Progession can be interpreted as an extension of his passion for Asian-inspired art. The abstract expressionistic drawings found in Progression explore Indian music, Raga paintings and Hindu dieties.

About Progression

The Progression paintings are a representation of the changing style and themes of his work over the years. These include:

Mandalas: Mandala is Sanskrit for circle, polygon, community, and connection. It is a symbol of man or woman in the world, a support for the meditating person. It is often illustrated as a palace with four gates, facing the four corners of the Earth. Before the meditating person arrives at the gates, he/she must pass the four outer circles. Saluja builds on this basic discipline and gives it an abstract flavor.

Raga Series: Based on the Indian classical music, these paintings are abstract representations of the moods and emotions that the various ragas evoke.

Contemporary Miniatures: These tiny (5x3 inches) images are often the basis of larger paintings but are complete pieces in their own right.

To see the painting images are online, visit:

About Harish Saluja

Filmmaker, entrepreneur and art doyen Harish Saluja is best known in the Pittsburgh art scene for his leadership of Silk Screen, which celebrates Asian and Asian American culture through film festivals, art, dance and music. Saluja’s film The Journey won several awards and was shown in more than 30 film festivals and distributed by IFC (Independent Film Channel). In addition to his nationally recognized artwork, Saluja is co-host of Music From India on Essential Public Media 90.5FM, which is the longest running radio program of its kind in the U.S. In addition to his artistic pursuits, Saluja is 33-year veteran in the publishing industry. Through his latest endeavor Silk Screen, an Arts and Culture Organization, he is building bridges to/from Asia.

ARTnews’ Harry Schwalb once described Harish’s artwork style when he said, “Saluja sees the music's endless patterns – which evolve simultaneously in repetitively strummed layers of tone and rhythm – as like colored threads, woven by the performer into a musical carpet." This is because Harish’s paintings are based upon Ragas and jazz, both types of music that involve a building upon and meshing of different beats.

But this quotation not only describes Harish’s paintings, but his personal life as well. Growing up in the Indian state Punjab, Harish loved the exposure he received of the arts from his mother, who was a singer and writer. As a boy, he would ride his bike in any weather to go to the theater. During his early adult years, he made the decision to pursue a more secure future and attended the prestigious IIT, Kharagpur as a mining engineer major. Harish was already adding the first few layers of his life’s painting on the canvas.

In 1971, Harish moved to New York City. He tried to fulfill his dream of being an artist, but soon found out that this does not always pay the bills. He then made the decision to move to Pittsburgh, where he was told that he would be able to find a job with his engineering background. Once he arrived, he found a job with Measurements and Data Corp. Through hard work, Harish became a co-owner of the corporation.

With a means of living, Harish was finally able to purse his other dream of, as he once put, “changing the world through art”. He created beautiful paintings, many of which have been shown in galleries across the United States. He also started his own film company New Ray Films in 1995. His film, “The Journey” featured two famous actors, Roshan Seth and Saeed Jaffrey; who were also in “Gandhi”. The film received acclaim reviews, the Audience Award for Best Film at the Florida Film Festival and the Best Independent Film award at the Cleveland Film Festival.

Harish’s love of cinema has not ended with New Ray Films. It was expanded and is now manifested within his non-profit organization, Silk Screen. Silk Screen celebrates Asian and Asian American culture through film festivals, art, dance, music, and other events. It is located in Pittsburgh, which Harish believes, will allow others to feel a bond with the city, just as he had.


707 Penn Gallery is located on 707 Penn Ave. / Downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District

Hours: Wed. & Thurs. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun.11 a.m.–5 p.m.

707 Penn Gallery is a Project of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and is free and open to the public.

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