Alternative Perspectives, is not only ‘alternative’ because there are five women artists; more importantly, it depicts a world where nature, memory and imagination play the role of a man.
Within this exhibition, we enter a whispering world; a mysterious, sometimes strange universe often experienced, it would seem, singularly. It would be a cliché if we were presented with the world of women; instead we wander into the imaginings of women, written “by eye” rather than “by ear.” Expressions of inner feelings; moods, whimsical thoughts, preoccupies and dominates in this show. The sources are clear – Literature, particularly fables, folk art traditions and eastern philosophy.
The artists, are not interested in portraying recognizable individual characteristics – meaning does not depend on “likeness;” memories and imagination are stirred by the visual media, much as it may happen to us, when we read a verbal description.
The five artists:
Anju Chaudhuri: Her acquaintance with Literature is familial – her brother was Shanti Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri began her studies in Art at the Government College of Art, Kolkata. She continued her art education in Paris, France. Her abstract landscapes are: “Patterns and colours that are in continual balletic flux.” Nature on Chaudhuri’s canvas is not trapped into stable, descipherable forms of trees and hills. Form is freed from itself; it floats adrift.
Rini Dhumal: The woman is pivotal in Dhumal’s artwork; her titles would suggest divinity but in fact, the faces have been retrieved from Dhumal’s memory. They are women (dependent widows) from the artist’s grandfather’s zamindari in what is now Bangladesh. The drawings reflect Dhumal’s Santiniketan training, she studied print making under Somnath Hore, then went on to Baroda after which, Dhumal continued her studies in Atelier 17, Paris.
The works in this exhibition – colour etchings, lithographs, mixed media paintings and ceramics, attest to Dhumal’s versatility.
Rashmi Bagchi Sarkar: Her artworks express an anxiety – an environmental and ecological anxiety. The single child of a single mother, nature was Bagchi Sarkar’s refuge and retreat. She chose to study art in Santiniketan because she envisaged it to be a place in harmony with nature. She paints following the Japanese iwa-enogu method, a medium which is derived from nature – created by a process of crushing semi-precious stones and shells, mineral ores and animal glue and mixing these to form the pigment. Her current series suggests a sense of foreboding and a palpable sense of dread.
Shakila: Is a self-taught artist, who has evolved into one of India’s most original artists. As a young child, her passion for art was nurtured by a professor in statistics who was also a member of the Society of Contemporary Artists. Shakila continues to reveal a “remarkable instinct” and eye. From simple pastoral themes, Shakila’s work has progressively become more complex and depicting socio-political concerns.
Jayasri Burman: Began her art studies in Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. This was interrupted by an early marriage and completed at the Visual College of Art, Kolkata. Ms. Burman stubbornly refuses to be lost and be anonymous in the mass of contemporary artists who explore new media because it is “smarter.” She has invented an idiom which has been developed by her Kala Bhavan teachers, Binode Behari and Ramkinkar Baij.