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Updated: March 22, 2013 19:15 IST

Femininity caged

Harshini Vakkalanka
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The woman is the central motif
The woman is the central motif

Sandhya Sirsi addresses the violations in right to freedom and peace in today’s society

A sense of desolation and gloom pervades the canvases of Sandhya K. Sirsi’s latest solo exhibition “Iye See You” at the Venkatappa Gallery.

“I feel that eyes are the mirrors of the soul. The eyes are so expressive, they tell you so many things without words.”

The main subject of Sandhya’s charcoal and pastel works is the young woman or the girl who longs to be free of the cage that society has put her in, both by not guaranteeing her safety and by not letting her be free, even to walk outside on the street.

Sometimes Sandhya makes a direct reference to this sense of bondage by depicting the girl behind bars, but she mostly employs motifs, in the form of birds or butterflies that seem to hover just beyond her reach outside her boundaries, where she longs to be, free.

Sandhya also expresses the innocent, yet intense longing of these girls for freedom, by showing dream-like reflections of icons of themselves simply just playing outdoors. These icons then become dancing reflections in the eyes of the subjects.

“We as humans are born with the birthright of peace and freedom and we seem to be fighting for it every other day. I draw connections between a child as she looks at a butterfly, wanting to fly one and having her own space or looking at the pigeon and wanting to be just as free,” explains Sandhya.

In some other paintings, Sandhya simply paints wide eyes reflecting young dreams. “And in all the works, there is a sense of reflection of what the child is thinking.”

All of Sandhya’s works, in which she maintains a constant style of simplistic, very Indian-regional-pop-art imagery, are clear pools of emotion. Whether it is hope, desolation or loneliness, it is reinforced by her use of pastels against charcoal. Charcoal also brings a sense of darkness to her works.

“I wanted to bring out the softness of the woman or the child, for which I felt charcoal is the best medium. But it’s also about contrast in today’s world where women are looked at as either black or white, nothing in between. That’s the reason there are a lot of dark colours, but at the same time there’s illumination. The whites that I have used appear ethereal and they illuminate the face which looks soft and innocent, a face which is yet to explore.”

“Iye See You”, presented by ArtLabs, will be on view until March 25 at the Venkatappa Gallery, Kasturba Road. For details, contact 9945690657.

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