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In solidarity with sisterhood

Artist Osheen Siva loves to explore themes of femininity, sexuality through an eclectic mix of spirited forms and striking colours in her signature illustrative style, writes Shilpi Madan
Last Updated : 16 October 2021, 19:15 IST
Last Updated : 16 October 2021, 19:15 IST

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Warmth
Warmth
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Valimai
Valimai

From Halloween mutants to LGBT literature and to cosmic mergers with human forms, illustrator and multidisciplinary artist Osheen Siva’s psychedelic artworks sift and sieve through the layers of emotions, and their subterranean complexities with fluid ease. A Tamil of Dalit heritage residing in Goa, Osheen pours a brilliant symphony of edgy forms, striking hues and expressive visages into her creations.

Her collection, titled Inflorescence, brings in a slice of speculative fiction in an energised amalgamation of her thoughts and emotions. Here is a world, where aberrations and exceptions thrive, as Osheen’s mutated beings bask in their unique feminine energy, heal, and reclaim their power. Call it a sisterhood of resilience, and of manifestation of her ancestral dreams, Inflorescence is the process of flowering in which a group or cluster of flowers stem from one stem. Imagined by Osheen as a metaphor for how all of us (humans and aliens alike) come from the same root but support and flourish together.

It is a treasured matrix as the themes transcend from gender and its intersection with technology and society, surrealism, speculative fiction, to culture and mythologies. “For me, the female energy symbolises freedom, solidarity, confidence and strength. My creative flair as an illustrator, together with my fine arts practice, and my love for animation and comic books, finds expression in the character-driven narratives, composition, and style,” she says with a smile, as intricate nose rings, braided hair, and golden accessories beautify the women in her works.

There is an undeniable element of shringar or adornment, with bold, cosmic lines. Like in Vanakkam, the female figure instantly brings a connection with Hanuman through the gold lines. Even in Valimai, there is a strong visual anchor. “My work is predominantly inspired by my Tamilian heritage. In my works, I have lived experiences of my childhood, such as my grandmother’s rich jewellery with its myriad textures, my early days in Tamil Nadu, personal pictures from the archives, animations and comic books I grew up with, rather than mythological or religious influences,” shares Osheen. “For instance, Warmth, in line with the rest of the collection explores the need for care, connection, and love.” The visual movement, the presence of the gecko, the bifurcation, in Togetherness brings forth the tacit need of the hour to save our environment.

“Titled Ottrumai which translates to togetherness in Tamil, this artwork is mainly inspired by the call of mother earth. It is a Tamil futuristic take of the iconic Leonardo Da Vinci’s work of art — Lady with an Ermie,” explains Osheen.

Strong colours and fascinating angular geometrics course through the collection realised in acrylic and ink on paper, acrylic on canvas, mural, and hand-made embroidered tapestry. The colours come ablaze in burnt orange, canary yellows, jaw-dropping icy blue melts, alien greens form the eye-popping palette in the artworks that took Osheen a year to create.

“All my colours are a direct influence from my childhood neighbourhood and local colourful homes in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, and my grandmother’s hometown, Tiruvannamalai,” she says.

What’s next? “Hopefully, when things get better soon, I’d love to reconnect with my mural practice. Meanwhile, I have learnt to be perseverant and patient and explore the other facets of my work such as illustration, fine art, and animation,” she says.

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Published 16 October 2021, 19:03 IST

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