Simple strokes by women artists brought to the fore multiple roles played by them.

Women artists have been a marginalised lot in Odisha. Though a large number of women get enrolled in the State's seven art colleges, one rarely comes across woman painters in art exhibitions in Bhubaneswar.

To change this depressing scenario, women artists of the State came together three years ago at Odisha Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneswar and with the support of the Gallery launched Art Era, an annual woman artists' meet, coinciding with the celebrations of the International Women's Day. The annual event turned three this year with the recently concluded women artists' workshop at Baleswar with 40 participants from across the State followed by the just concluded exhibition at the Gallery in Bhubaneswar.

The paintings that the three-day exhibition showcased were the output of the two-day workshop and it was amazing to see a series of impressive works that the lesser-known women painters produced in the short span of time. Painted with spontaneity and without any pretention, most of the paintings were simple and touching portrayal of the life and inner-most feelings of the women.

It was a showshowcasing celebration of womanhood and women's creativity on canvas.

The theme ands the treatment were simple and that simplicity added beauty to the show reaping rave response from the visitors.

“The visitors could instantly connect to the works without the help of any explanation from the artist. This touched me a lot,” remarked Gallery director and painter Tarakant Parida.

Kumari Sonia, the speech and hearing impaired painter, did not require telling her viewers that her autobiographical painting — a self portrait — was showing her at work in her studio. Similarly, Sahista Naz's Prism of Life was an attempt to convey how, like the ray that takes many hues passing through the prism, a woman adds colour to the lives of many. Nibedita Patnaik painted women as dolls. Paramita Mohanty's painting has a woman with utensils painted on her body. Likewise, most of the works were commentaries on women's lives by women.

Though most of the works had the figures of women to portray the life and feelings of women, a few works were refreshingly different in treatment while the theme was not different. Lipishree Nayak's painting was one such innovative attempt to portray woman's life through Mother Nature.