Women artists impress with simple, realistic expressions

In Orissa's art colleges, one comes across enrolment of a large number of female students year after year. But, ironically enough, in the state-level art events presence of women artists has remained a rarity. The reason is the predictable lack of encouragement after they settle down to domesticity.

To bring back these trained and talented artists into limelight, Orissa Modern Art Gallery hosted Art Era,an annual state-level women artists' meet, in Bhubaneswar this month coinciding with the International Women's Day celebrations. The meet with 29 participants across Orissa commenced with an on-the-spot painting camp followed by a week-long exhibition that introduced several gifted and promising painters.

Most of the works that the camp produced were on women — their dreams, hopes, disillusionment and despair. Some of the paintings even bore an autobiographical touch.

Like their lives, their paintings were realistic, simple and transparent. One did not have to toil to understand what these artists meant to say. A glance at the works touched the viewers and convinced the views of the painters.

Mention must be made about some of the participants who excelled both in their craft and concept — Nilansubala Sasmal, Moushumi Mishra, Mamata Samantaray, Aryaprajna Basabadutta, Shaista and Lipishree Nayak besides the speech and hearing impaired Kumari Sonia. While Nilansubala and Mamata exhibited their mastery over the meaningful use of single colours to convey moods, Aryaprajna and Moushumi successfully attempted to explore and establish a style of their own in their compositions. Lipishree's zoomed in face of a woman against the backdrop of a locked door and Sonia's faceless woman sitting alone in a park were eloquent expressions of women's isolation and loneliness. Shaista impressed with her texture.

In a departure from the convention, Priyadarshini Mohanty and Jamuna Singh attempted to paint nature and their works were refreshing with harmony in the collage of colours. Sasmita Kamila, Madhumita Barik, Nibedita Patnaik, Sangita Mohapatra, Stutee Sahoo and Manjusri Das also impressed with their figurative paintings. Among the budding, Soudamini, Mohini, Anamika and Laxmipriya proved promising.