Fascinating brushstrokes on the woman of today

Fascinating brushstrokes on the woman of today

Contemporary work

For centuries, art in India has celebrated femininity in all its forms: the fierce weapon-wielding demon-slaying Goddess, the sensuous full-bodied object of desire and even the ordinary village woman going about her daily chores.

Now, a group art exhibition by 29 odd contemporary artists is commenting on womanhood in its more modern avatar. A model striking an intense pose, a housewife looking out of her window into the void, a rag-tag street woman suckling her infant – the artists have poured out their thoughts on what a woman, today, means to them, making for an interesting and thoughtful display.

The host, Art Konsult Gallery in Lado Sarai, focuses on contemporary art and launches at least a couple of new and young artists with every show. This exhibition,
titled ‘She,’ also comprises mostly contemporary artists with some select old artworks included for a curated effect. In a follow-up of  Mother’s Day celebrations, it will go on
till June 7.

Curator of the exhibition, Neelam Malhotra, explains to Metrolife, “Indian art has seen some resplendent examples
of portrayal of woman. Take for example, Raja Ravi Varma’s half-divine half-human feminine figures evocatively draped in saris, Jamini Roy’s Bengali women notable for their expressive facial features and Amrita Shergill’s demure Punjabi womenfolk. Sadly, though, we haven’t moved
forward from those stereotypes and the modern woman is still missing from our
new artworks.”

“For the same reason, we decided to call upon these contemporary artists, some foreigners included, to express their understanding of the woman of today’s world.”
The result is, indeed, fresh and appealing. Nabanita Ghosh, a young Kolkata-based artist, has interpreted the old-school Bengali depiction of Kali, placing an ordinary old lady in a setting reminiscent of religious calendar art. Vinita Dasgupta, on the other hand, has painted a model in a backless dress looking over her shoulder making for a very glamorous frame. Vinita seems smitten by pop culture and her artworks are straight out of film magazines.

Fabien Jakob has a thought-provoking black-and-white photograph of a woman looking out of the window. The sense of dullness in her life is almost palpable. Shashi Paul’s fibre and stainless steel sculpture, on the contrary, has a woman who seems to be on the brink of taking off into the air. Preksha Tathi’s mixed-media work is notable too – a picture of a woman in a headscarf with several scribblings like gossip, anger, irritation and laughter surrounding it.

Construe these artworks as you may, they can’t be easily brushed aside.