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Answers in glass

Twenty-two-year-old Sravanthi discovers spirituality in stained glass

The artist finds the process meditative

SRAVANTHI JULURI is all of 22, and for one so young has struck a balance between art and spirituality. It is a besotting combination that comes out finest in her stained glass paintings. Trained at the prestigious Stained Glass Garden, Berkley, California, Sravanthi is holding the first ever exhibition of her works in Hyderabad. At the A.P. State Gallery of Fine Arts, Kavoori Hills where her exhibition titled `Cold Flames' is displayed, a single theme seems recurrent in most of her work - a teardrop. Her art speaks about spiritual transition and a definition of self-satisfaction in terms of emotions.

"I work with stained glass because it is derived from the earth as is humanity. Stained glass reflects life in its many moods. I find working with this medium very meditative and a reflection of some aspect of my life. Choosing different types of glass — textured, clear, coloured is like assembling various emotions. Cutting and polishing is part of perfecting and the soldering is the most meditative process - deep within we are all tough. Stained glass invites you to look through as much as look at," she says.

Sravanthi's emotional journey that translated into this exhibition began a year ago and each piece she has worked on has taken at least four months to create.

Varied themes

Themes like The Shelter, The Tragic, The Restricted and The Conflict Within have been rendered in shades of red, green and black. The Unborn Love depicts a child in a womb, while Self Portrait is a face with both a smile and a tear. The shades of blue and black enhance the imagery of the soul. The Sinking Soul is a perfect picturisation of man's angst painted as it is in the colours of blue flames. Standing Still shows a clock, tear and eye all merging into one. Not all works brood on the emotions of the heart.

Some like the Humming Bird and The Questioning are a riot of colours. Both are worked on plain glass that has been soldered onto textured glass. The Emergence portrays a lady with butterfly wings while The Rose is a scene straight out of the Disney animation blockbuster The Beauty and The Beast.

Visually striking

But two works stand out for their compelling beauty. The first is a face of the Durga - The Substance, which is Sravanthi's favourite. "It has ninety nine pieces that have been soldered together and I have placed it in a glass case as it signifies our unused potential," says Sravanthi.

The second is the titular piece for which the exhibition is named. Cold Flames has pride of place in the centre of the gallery. The painting has a burning candle reflecting onto a mirror on which abstracts in sand are made.

All paintings are mounted on easels draped in white voile and reflected onto individual mirrors on the floor. "It reflects the dust to dust idea," says Sravanthi. What became a passion after visiting the Medak Church famed for its stained glass, may now find echoes in Europe. "It is my dream to exhibit in Italy. I am totally inspired by Michelangelo."

Other than her diamond cutter and the jigsaw puzzle of glass pieces that she solders together to create authentic stained glass, Sravanthi is stuck on Cupid, one of her nine dogs. Somewhere in between she mirrors her emotional journey on coloured glass.

The exhibition and sale is open from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. till August 29.


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