Gogi Saroj Pal
GOGI SAROJ PAL
1961-62:Gogi studied in Banasthali ,
Gogi works in different mediums .... installation, painting, sculpture,graphic print, ceramics, jewelry, weaving, photography, computer, writing & limited edition books to achieve creativity.Since 1965, she has organized 41 solo exhibitions of her works, participated in 35 international exhibitions abroad and more than 100 group exhibitions in
Most recent solo exhibitions,
2007:‘All the flowers are for you' at
2005:‘All the flowers are for you' at
2004: `All the flowers are for you' & Revisiting Amrita Shergill at
2004:‘All the flowers are for you' at
2003:`All the flowers are for you' at
2002: 'Embroidering Phulkaries & Memories' Jamaat Art Gallery-Mumbai .
2001:'Embroidering Phulkaries & Memories' at Lalit Kala Akademi's Garhi Artists' Studios,
2001:'Mother Icon'- photographs of 'Ma-Hidamba' at Kulu Dassehra & the paintings inspired by this experience at FIA- Amsterdam .
2000:'Being a Woman' at Jamaat Art Gallery-Mumbai.
1982,1994: She was invited to participate in the 5th and 8th
Most recent group shows:
2003: Indian contemporary art,
2004-05-o6; Polka art Gallery
2004: Maurutius art camp
2004; Confluence, art camp & exhibition,
2004: Confluence, art camp & exhibition, Los Angles,
2004: Drawing exhibition, crimson art gallery.
2005: Exhibition in aid of cancer society, Cymroza art gallery.
2005: Art camp, women artists, Ankor Vat, combodia.
2005: Earth exhibition, Tao art gallery.
2005; art camp,
2005: Exhibition in aid of cancer society, Art & Soul art gallery.
2005: Art camp in
2005 - 06 Group show, Art Konsult art gallery.
2005: Group show at Lasalle - SIA College of Arts, Singapore, organized by Tao art gallery.
2005: Group show,
2005-06: Art Camp, JW Marriot, Mumbai.
2005: Group Show organized by Popular Prakashan, Anant art galley, Delhi & Tao art galley, Mumbai.
2006: Harmony Show, Mumbai.
2006: Garhi Artists, Group Show,
2006: Holi & Monsoon group shows organized by Red Earth in Delhi & Mumbai.
2006: Work on paper,
2006: Water exhibition,
2006: Work on paper, celebrating 35 years of Cymroza art gallery.
2oo6: red Earth,
2006: Devotion Art Positive art gallery.
2006: Pratham auction exhibition organized by Christies in
2006: Raag Badal organized by Bharat Bhavan,
2007: Tahlka auction ,
2007: Khushi Art auction,
2008: Group Show , Tao art Gallery, Mumbai.
2009: Group Show ‘Body as Vessel’ Art Alive, New
1996: She won an award in the Cleveland Drawing Biennial in
1990: She was awarded National Award in painting by Lalit Kala Akademi,
1987: She was awarded in the International Biennial of Plastic Arts at
1980: Gogi was given the Sanskriti Award,
The body as site - 2
Firstly, on desire… As a woman, you are the object of desire; and yet of course, you too have your desires. Thus you are both the object and the subject in the painting. There is certainly a dichotomy here, based on gender perception. In 1989, Gogi Saroj Pal embarked on a new series of paintings, of mythic fantasies about women. Her first image is of Kamadhenu, the legendary wish-fulfilling cow invoked to fulfil all dreams and desires. That role of being gifted and giving happens to be assigned to women, and Kamadhenu becomes a symbol most apt. Saroj Pal, being an artist and a woman, observes with wry humour: "People say of Kamadhenu, she is so good — she can fulfil all your desires! It is interesting that no one has ever asked about what Kamadhenu herself may desire — if she desired… How can her own wishes be fulfilled?"
Half woman and half cow, this delicious combination of a milky creature is shorn of all clothing — accentuating her sexuality. Yet because her hands and feet are painted red with the cosmetic of alta, she acquires the allure of a woman ready to seduce the viewer. This image and others such as Saroj Pal’s series on Kinnari, the mythical bird-woman, form part of a new vocabulary of eroticism. These brazen creatures are both women and beasts, in a constant state of metamorphosis between being civilised and savage, demure and defiant — subverting the original intent of he who desires and she who is desirable.
Geeti Sen is an art historian and editor of the
Paint like a Woman
Gogi Saroj Pal creates a new visual vocabulary in her bold and sensitive portrayals, writes Nirupama Dutt
What do women like to paint? The instant association is that of a well brought-up young lady painting blooms and landscapes in the Victorian age. Closer home it is that of young ladies painting a deity on an earthen pot or a floral spray on fabric. Ancient Indian texts of the Eighth to the Twelfth Century have references of young women painting portraits of one another for matrimonial purposes; with the advent of photography came the Zenana Studios.
The Twentieth century saw the short but brilliant spell of Amrita Sher-Gil, who was schooled in art in Paris and is remembered for her paintings of people. After her death in 1941, came a long lull till there was an upsurge of women artists in the 1970s.
The path for the pioneers is never easy. ``Write like a man,'' said Kamla Das, one of the pioneers of Indian poetry in English, and she stuck her tongue firmly in her cheek and wrote a poem on the theme. Gender stereotypes provoked Mahesh Dattani to pro to produce the play. Dance Like A Man.
In the field of visual arts, Gogi Saroj Pal made a virtue of not just painting like a woman but also painting women. ``I have never felt apologetic for making woman the main focus of my work. I am rather proud of being a woman and trying to unravel through my work what makes a woman, how much of a woman is conditioned and how much natural.''
Refreshing indeed in a scenario where women painters feel afraid of being labeled as mere painters of women. It has been a long journey for Gogi, struggling not just to establish herself as an artist but also to achieve perfection of her own imagery.
In Gogi's earlier works, one finds etchings of the sad-faced brooding feminine profile, the single woman nursing a child or a woman lying motionless, like in her series: The story and the story teller.
The viewer is struck by a delicate sensitivity even when the conviction is firm. But it is the growth of her work and the rare spontaneity that she achieves in a brilliant iconography of women which give her a place as one of the most remarkable woman painters in the country today.
While still in school, Gogi, who comes from a family of revolutionaries and her father, was arrested for making a bomb, made up her mind to be an artist. How come she did not opt to be a writer given the literary environment at home? ``I was always a great individualist and wanted to do things my own way. I preferred being the first artist in the family,'' says Gogi. One only has to see Gogi's paintings to understand the determination of this rather frail, young girl.
``I always had in me persistence. I would do things my way even if it meant enduring hardships,'' she says. And so she did in her long years studying art and then practicing it, staying in the midst of the crowd and clutter of the walled city of Delhi or working in the Lalit Kala Akademi studios at Garhi. Gogi was among the first to do installations in Delhi. ``Now installations are much in vogue. But the words was not known in the early 1980s and we called the work assemblage'' Gogi recalls.
This assemblage paved the way for Swayamvaram. This widely-travelled installation earned her a place in Oxford History of Modern Art along with masters like Raja Ravi Varma ad Rabindranath Tagore as well as the celebrated London-based artist Anish Kapoor.
Deep study, research and meditation and also a questioning mind, which gave a hard time to her art teachers, pay a role in the selection of her themes. Take, for instance her series, Aag ka Dariya, inspired by the Jigar Moradabadi couplet: ``Yeh Ishq Nahin Aasan bas Itna Samajh Leeje; Ik Aag Ka Dariya Hai Aur Doob Ke Jaana Hai. (Love is not easy; it's like an ocean of fire and one has to drown in it.)'' She shows a woman crossing a turbulent river with a little girl in her arms on a paper boat.
This journey is a contrast to the journey I which Vasudev saves baby boy Krishna whereas the baby girl Rajni is killed. ``This was my way of saying that women have to bear the responsibility of saving their daughters and the paper boat symbolizes childhood and dreams,'' explains Gogi.
Inspired by the miniature painting of Bride's Toilet, in one of her series, Gogi makes her Nayika use products like Ganga soap or Kesh Nikhar oil, having a dig at the market forces that promote stereotypes. ``The market decides what a woman must use, eat or even how she should look like. It was in reaction to the Barbie Doll that I made the Big-B dolls of Painted canvas,'' says Gogi.
The Big B dolls have been a hit. Her latest series of painting have the woman embroidering Phulkari motifs o her body. These motifs are scattered in the backdrop too. All this is done with an accomplished flourish. The woman Gogi paints is rooted and yet has wings. Not a mean achievement this.
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