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Playing with mandalas

Ananya Revanna, Apr 28, 2016, DHNS 0:02 IST
Who are you? Is your identity defined by your partner, your parents, career, friends or the amount of wealth you have? What would you be without these ties? Sapna Dube began asking these questions and more after her mother passed away a few years ago, and it took her on a long journey of self-realisation that transformed in to her art work. Her latest collection, titled ‘Technicolour Dreams’, is being showcased at Venkatappa Art Gallery till May 1 and it pays tribute to her mother.

Talking about her 19 free-hand sketches on display and more, Sapna says, “I’ve been interested in drawing ever since I can remember. My mom was an artist as well; she used to draw mandalas using a pencil but at the time, I didn’t know what they were. After she passed away I began going through her work and researching about mandalas. Eventually, I took to it as well.”

When she read that psychotherapist Carl Jung recognised the fact that the urge to make mandalas emerges at moments of intense personal growth, she was intrigued. “He says that their appearance indicates a profound re-balancing process of the psyche and uses it as art therapy. When I’m working on them, I forget everything else because of the intricate designs. It’s like meditating!” she says.

Since Sapna loves colours, she filled these mandalas using watercolor brush pens, alcohol markers, archival inks and pencils. She also drew patterns inspired by yakshagana artistes. “I grew up watching Doordarshan and would watch many yakshagana performances. This was my way of looking back and seeing the city’s and my transition.”

She also draws a parallel to the ‘instant gratification generation’ that spends a majority of its time on social media sites. “These days, it seems like we wear a mask just to appear happy for Facebook. We want to show that we are creating new experiences by posting pictures of food and travel but life isn’t like that; it’s not always happy. You can’t tell if a person really likes ice cream or just eats it to put a picture on Facebook,” she says.

Elaborating on all the questions that plagued her and how it influenced her works, she says, “It seems like we do and want the same things — get a good job, buy a car, a house... Not many question this routine and when you do, it seems futile.

After I got married, I felt like I lost my identity; I took on my husband’s name and let go of mine. This is a problem modern women face. While men get attached to their work identities, women rely more on their roles of a mother, sister, wife etc. But what is our real identity? This idea of losing your identity and being faceless is something that reflects in my work.”

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