Chitti Prabala’s A Life of My Own is a humorous, fun-filled take on the idea of the five elements

Each element in Chitti Prabhala’s latest exhibition seemed to be alive, and to the viewer, it seems like perhaps that’s why it is titled “A Life of My Own”.

The theme of her exhibition, which is not obvious from the title, are the “primordial panchaboothas” of water, fire, wind, sky and earth, and Chitti represents them in her artwork through installations where she both puts together objects from daily life as well as draws from her area of expertise, metalwork, to create objects with a quirky sculptural quality. In her work on water,

Chitti displays an umbrella hung from the ceiling with glass puddles lying in blue paint on the floor with a thunderstorm playing in the background. In another installation on water, she displays potted plants with green tubes sprouting taps. And she works with laser cut metal to create spirals placed against a background of what appears to be the universe, to represent space and the spirals are meant to suggest the solar system.

For earth, she also has a giant sphere of mud over which she has placed some grass and a pair of large-sized ants. “Now I see that there are crow droppings and ants crawling all over. The element earth is not just the planet earth but also about the mud or literally earth.”

Throughout the show, Chitti doesn’t represent the elements as much as she hints at them, all for the viewer’s benefit. “I thought about the ideas for a long time before I started working on them. Initially I wanted to call the show ‘guess the elements’ because I’m only hinting at them. I thought it would be fun for people to guess what the elements were. The whole thing was fun and surprisingly people realised that,” says Chitti, who has been interested in art since childhood when she was inspired by the works of artists such as Jamini Roy and K. Sreenivasulu and later Jatin Das, P.V. Janakiram and K.M. Adimoolam. This is Chitti’s first official solo show since her graduation from the J.J. School of Art more than forty years ago (and later Ken school of art) after which she got involved with her job and family.

“1 Shanthi Road and all the people involved including Suresh Jayaram and my son, put me back on track.” All the people who come to the gallery inspired her. For instance, it was a German, Christian Engelmann, who told her where she could get material for her metal workChitti would like to work with magnets or spirals next.

“A Life Of My Own” will be on view at 1, Shanthi Road, Shanthi Nagar, until April 4. For details, contact 25599603