Taking the system head on

An exhibition, titled Unfaithfully Yours, is an interesting and well-curated group show that showcases the works of four young artists, all women-Anindita Chakraborty, Siji Krishnan, Sharmishta Kar and Varunika Saraf.

Curator Alex Matthew says, “The theme of this show draws one’s attention to the strategies one needs to cultivate to survive as a woman in our surroundings and in society in general.”

Having to move around in a largely male dominated public sphere, women are compelled to employ defence mechanisms to feel safe and break out of the stereotypical roles that are gender-based and biased. “We still live in a world where hot stainless steel lunch boxes and hidden safety pins form the first line of defence against the casual 'rubbing' by men in crowded buses,” he adds.

The artists are young women in the same age group and have used their unique style, expression and imagery to deal with the subject. Anindita Chakraborty’s oils on canvas have coffee coloured women in flowing Elizabethan gowns, long black hair plaited into a bull whip coiled in loops over her arm or mirror reflections of the same  face with a contemporary Indian look.

Siji Krishnan’s paintings in mixed media on rice paper format are strangely compelling series of images that are very edgy and offbeat. Sharmishta Kar’s oils on canvas is a tongue-in-cheek depiction of banal or offbeat urban images like matrimonial advertisements, kitchen utensils  and spectacles pegged on clothesline. Varunika Saraf  uses fabric, braid, fringes, strange sepia toned pictures and softly coloured images mixed in with skulls and cross bones in her mixed media creations, which is stunning. 

“A distinct feature of the show, is the tone which the group adopts to achieve its critical purpose. Tongue-in-cheek, each of these artists attempts to rebel against the 'system' using humour, satire and irony as her critical arsenal. The self-portrait doubles as masquerade. Kitchen utensils cast menacing shadows and gender roles are reversed,” adds Matthew.
The show is on at Gallery Skye on St Mark’s Road till the end of November.

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