Sri Lankan visual artist Anoli Perera celebrates ‘motherhood' in a sensitive show, ‘Comfort Zones' on at Kashi Art café.
Motherhood that encapsulates the gamut of emotions ranging from joy to pain is touched upon by the artist through her mild colour palette and delicate strokes. Her sculptures are a spectacular tribute to her mother and to all mothers who symbolise this epitome of womanhood, of piety, pain and compassion. Here are excerpts from an email interview. The show is on till March 10.
Is the show autobiographical?
Yes...my art is autobiographical because I take my subject matter mostly from what is very close to me. My themes tend to be on very intimate issues. Emotionally I am very close to my mother. I am her only daughter and therefore I have become the problem solver for her. The roles have now reversed...I am mothering her.
I am fascinated with the complexity of my mother's role as the ‘mother' and I feel her body holds or absorbs this complexity. I think the two mediums painting and sculpture are powerful. Sculpture, being a three dimensional art form has the added advantage to visualise the form from all sides.
The concept of motherhood is interpreted in body forms?
Comfort Zone is an attempt to understand the ‘motherhood' as a whole meaning. It not only looks at the joy and pride of being a mother but also pain as well as the conformity that comes with the accepted notions of ‘motherhood'. It talks about the transformation of the body and the body that is left at the end of ‘motherhood', a body that has been giving comfort and that on which the joy and pain of motherhood has been etched. Even as adults we still yearn for that comfort of the mother...I do. My mother is 80 years old and I am fascinated with the body of my mother and I look around and see a majority of the women's bodies, who are over 50 years or so, tend to look similar. I find this shape of the woman's body almost common in Sri Lanka. It's not an obese body...but it's a body that is marked with the joy and pain of bearing children. It is also a body that silently grieves for the absence of the children at the later part oflife.
Your painting technique in this show
I work mostly on paper and use acrylic, pencil, ink and charcoal. I work layer by layer to give depth to the painting. My paintings have a transparent quality.
The sculpturing technique used in this show?
The sculptures are made with copper sheets welded together. First the model is done in clay and then cast in cement. The copper sheets are shaped and welded on this cement cast.
Is this your first show in South India, Kochi?
In Kochi, this is the first time I am exhibiting. I have had two group shows in Bangalore
As an artist from Sri Lanka have you been influenced by the happenings in your land?
Very much...I was part of the group of artists who started making art on subjects that are highly socio-politically engaging and critical. The kind of art that was done by us is now popularly referred to as 90s Art Trend. It started in the 1990s with the political situation faced by us in the end of 80s and 90s as well as the war that was raging in the north.
Do you identify with some of the political voices of your country?
We were anti -violence and anti -war. We didn't believe in violence whatever the side be. Many artists did work on the consequences of human and material loss due to war and southern violence in the 1980s.
What does Theertha, the art collective you are part of stand for?
Theertha stands for sacred journey or a transient place.
You have stuck to a limited colour scheme. Any reason ?
I have a tendency to use earth colours. That is my preferred colour palette. But reds more or less always refer to pain...