Artist Trupti Joshi finds stories in stillness. This is amply evident in the play of textures and metaphors in Second Self, a series of her acrylic works on show at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad. In this first solo show in the city, more than 60 paintings are displayed in clusters that depict vintage ceramic pots, pickle jars and kettles. These pots and jars in different shapes and sizes signify people differing in their characteristics, personalities and thoughts; a shadow painted opposite, below or near them too varies accordingly, adding a different dimension. “Shadows depict the inner strength of human beings,” explains Trupti. Since 2004, still life has been her favourite subject; the shadows have been added since COVID in 2020.
The compositions in Second Self have significant points: While the first depicts the presence of antique, priceless ‘pots’ at home which we tend to ignore, the second subtly hints at how we judge a person by his/her outward personality but fail to see their shadow, i.e, the inner core of their personality. “People see external appearances and assume us to be small and weak but when the situation arises, we draw strength from our inner personality and will power. This mental strength makes us stronger than people assume us to be. ”
Slippers, a symbol of journey
One can also see tiny slippers painted at the bottom of every canvas. These cute flip flops are Trupti’s signature instead of a name. She has been painting these slippers since her first series . Calling them a symbol of a journey, she says, Elders often say that one has to look at a person’s footwear to understand him/her as it reveals their struggle, hard work and journey. The blue and white Hawai slippers are nostalgic too as people of all strata used to wear them earlier.”
Over the years, Trupti has mastered the techniques of texture and depth. While studying art at the Fine Arts College in Indore, she once forgot her painting brushes in the college locker. She found a squeegee (a sturdy rubber used to remove sludge used for screen printing) at home and began using it to create textures on canvas. “Unlike a brush that might merge colours while creating textures, it was easy to create multiple layers using a squeegee as it dries fast and leaves a deep residue colour after 10-15 washes (to create a textured effect),” she explains.
This technique has helped her to create a unique working style and thought process. “When something accidentally gets added in artwork, one has to explore it differently. There are no books or reference points to help use this medium. It is a new journey every day as textures with each artwork are different.”
The exhibition Second Self is on at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Banjara Hills till December 5.