Art

Breaking the lines

Heena Pari’s concerns are personal and universal at once. That’s how many women will relate to her first solo “Breaking The Pattern”. In collages, mixed media, installations and a video, the artist shows her journey beginning with family - two children and her husband, an innate urge to be a good wife and mother, the need to create a career and the dilemma faced, caught between the two worlds. In different works, Heena depicts herself with various kitchen objects. In one, she wears a crown of cutlery against the background of a page taken out from a rare Gujarati cook book “Bhavta Bhojan”, and in the other, she emerges with a kadai or a bowl-shaped frying pan. “My grandfather had given me the book after my marriage. The book gives recipes and talks about nutrition and hygiene in the kitchen. And I realised, how I am so concerned about clean dusters and giving nutritious diet to my family”

Heena is a Gujarati who grew up in Mumbai, studying commerce. She wasn’t allowed to study art. She married a Tamilian and shifted to Bengaluru. She finally studied art at CKP in 2008 but immersed in family life, she couldn’t practise art. “I would do a couple of projects but on a small-scale for my friends or for my husband’s office. I needed a platform to speak from. If someone had asked me as an artist, what have you done, I had nothing to show,” says Heena explaining her decision to have her first exhibition at the age of 40.

This passing year turned out to be a turning point for Heena. For she could undertake a trip to the Kochi Biennale, Venice Biennale, have her first solo and rent out a studio. “When I felt everything is on track, I decided to make a start. And as I am having my exhibition, my husband is taking care of the children. But there are so many women who aren’t as lucky.”

Heena has transformed the exhibition space into a drawing room sort of a place with cooking stove, mixie, washing machine, ironing board occupying different corners. The space reverberates with desire and conflict. The broken lines appearing on the wall and the bed sheet has also resulted from her own life. “Because of the continuous breaks in my work, due to various situations at home, I realised it is best to do smaller works and create patterns. With a pattern, it’s easy to pick up from wherever you left it.” The artist feels she is throwing up more questions than answering any. “A lot of questions would come to my mind while cooking for kids, setting up my house. I felt frustrated, happy and sad. I questioned why am I supposed to do all this? What is my role? And when and how do I do other things? I hope other women see this and realise a lot of things, ask questions.”

(The exhibition “Breaking The Pattern” is on at 1 Shanthi Road, Shanthi Nagar, till December 28)

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 5:12:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/artist-heena-paris-first-exhibition-reflects-on-womens-role-in-a-household/article22274977.ece

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