Sasmita Barik's paintings embrace traditional and modern techniques.

In Orissa's art colleges, one comes across more and more girls enrolling for courses year after year. But paradoxically, the State has very few women artists to boast of. Lack of patronage for female artists by the Oriya society is often attributed as the factor.

Against such a backdrop, when Hyderabad-based budding Oriya artist Sasmita Barik hosted her first ever solo show at the Orissa Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneswar recently, the art fraternity and connoisseurs showered appreciation on her. And rightly so. “I graduated in art from B.K. College of Art and Craft, Bhubaneswar, and then studied multimedia. I work as a graphic designer with a television channel in Hyderabad but my heart has always been with art. Whenever I find time from my hectic life, I love to paint,” says the budding painter in her early 20s.

Her exhibition was titled My World of Conceptions. The week-long show, featuring 21 of Sasmita's works in acrylic and tempara, were her personal perceptions of the life of a woman in different stages of her life. Mother and Child, The Dark Princess, Devdasi in waiting, and Shakti were some of such paintings that bore her perceptions expressed with transparency. In almost all her paintings, the eyes of the women were bold and blank — suggesting the determination and disillusion that the women went through in their journey in life.

The most touching piece was the artist's self-portrait that shows a girl immersed in thought in front of a blank canvas, apparently ready to paint.

Though trained in traditional painting, she tried her brush both with the traditional and the modern modes of painting, thus adding variety to the show while giving glimpses of the artist's potentiality and possibilities. While the themes were identical — revolving round the many moods of women — the treatment were varied in its colour and texture.

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