Artist and graphic designer Chithkala Ramesh held her first solo show TI/ME/LINE late last month and it seemed nothing less than vignettes from a diary. After all, she had poured out some of the most memorable moments of her life, onto her artworks. Her vacations, memories of an AirBnb room she stayed in Delhi, a haircutting session, are funnelled into a slew of pieces which were on display. They were executed in a range of mediums - acrylic on canvas, pen on paper, digital print and a single installation.
The seed of this series of works was planted during one of her travels. In Berlin, when Chithkala forgot to take her polaroid camera along, she started to sketch. The show, in fact, begins on this extremely personal note - a self-portrait, a radio at the Anne Frank Museum, Cheese sandwich at Schaffer’s in Berlin, Snowfall, etc. All done in postcard size, together they appear like an illustrated travelogue.
Her training in Applied Arts from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and Design for Retail Experience course from National Institute of Design is evident in her style. The works are simple, fun and engaging. Her works depicting life-sized cats and dogs had many visitors hooked, particularly the young ones seemed smitten by the Black cat with her intent gaze. Her self-explanatory captions also help.
Her work in pen on paper, ‘My haircut, my fringe & me’ is captioned thus: ‘In simple words, the world stops moving. I can get nothing done when my hair does what it is naturally meant to do, that is GROW. I am a nightmare to all my hairstylists due to the attention I give them and the mirror while I get a haircut.’ An otherwise mundane act was made relatable and piqued interest.
Coming back to the show, Memories was the main narrative, and the artist didn’t just evoke it through the moments but also the camera, a device most associated with it. The artist emphasises on the theme through an installation of polaroid camera with a print jutting out.
Another notable piece was “The constant in my life”, a depiction of the Moon. Chithkala wasn’t alluding to the celebrated Chandrayaan 2 mission of ISRO, she was just expressing her fondness for the second brightest object in the sky after the sun.
Chithkala works as a graphic designer and also paints murals as a personal project for friends and special assignments.