Art

Seventy women artists reinterpret the female form at this exhibition

From a Pointillism-inspired Mona Lisa to a majestic tigress — women artists from different backgrounds come together to display their works

A goddess, Mother Earth and a tigress — these are all magnetic manifestations of the female form. The Pondicherry Art Akademy has drawn its inspiration from this fount of female energy, to bring the vision of 70 female artists from across the country, to DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu.

The 5th National Women Artists’ Group Show is a narrative of artists, from a mosaic of backgrounds and professions. “The ratio of female to male artists at so many shows is abysmal. So, I have created a platform for women to come together and show their work, across media,” explains the Akademy’s founder and secretary, Sridalaadevi G, who hails from Puducherry.

Seventy women artists reinterpret the female form at this exhibition

The Dotted Queen is a version of Mona Lisa, drawn in black and white by Charumathi M, a self-taught Chennai artist who has embraced Pointillism to convey her worldview. The iconic beauty, gets a makeover, as you see beauty fraught with blemishes. While Chiquita Ravi, presents a fractured portrait of a woman, who needs to break free, in Tussle and Truce. The mandala design conveys the outer world trying to creep in, while the butterflies are the depths of the woman’s soul waiting to break free. This Chennai-based artist, who is currently under the tutelage of artist AV Ilango, is also one of three awardees this year, chosen by the Akademy, for artistic leaps made in 2018-19.

Dr Kanchan Murhekar, from Nagpur, a doctor by profession and self-professed artist by passion, is the second awardee. In the Lap of the Mountain paints a nostalgic picture, borrowing from Ruskin Bond’s work, A Town Called Dehra. Her acrylic on canvas features colourful roofs and small houses reminiscent of a simpler time. Another doctor-artist, who has 17 solo exhibitions to her credit, Dr Seema Devi presents Eden in Distress, a poetic portrayal in shades of blue and brown, broken butterflies and fallen flora. The delicate gaze of the male and female forms on her canvas, are enveloped by debris.

Folk motifs also had a presence. Bengali artist, Shobha Choudhary uses ritual motifs of Bengali alpona to fill her female frame, in the work Shakti. While the woman is meditative in a yin-yang combination of black and white, her world is teeming with colour. It is a co-mingling of culture, history and art. In stark contrast, Usha Kodeeswaran, an art teacher from Salem, presents a gorgeous tigress, in Majestic Beast, an embodiment of brute force and beauty. The emerald green of the jungle juxtaposed with the ochre-orange of the tigress, draws a picture both formidable and inviting.

Seventy women artists reinterpret the female form at this exhibition

Vaishnavi Shankhwalkar, who hails from Goa, brings a fluid vision of nature in acrylic on canvas. The third awardee by the Akademy, her triple- canvas (untitled) evokes textures coloured in deep azure and burnished orange — her vision of the land, sea and sand.

Shahnaz Ali, based in Mumbai, brings her travels and poetry, to her work. In Unfazed, the green and yellow border, encasing the yogic woman in the centre, serves to shut out distraction and yet provide a cocoon. Another artist who uses chooses a geometric style is Bhopal-based ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Aparna Bhatnagar. In Sunshine In Your Smile, she uses Cubism to invoke the sunny nature of tulips — trading curves for sharp cuts and corners — not typical in Nature.

“So many women I know, have given up art because of familial pressures, and then come back to it in their 50s and 60s. They must be given an avenue to build a body of work,” says Chiquita. Sridalaadevi, adds her philosophy, “Art can be both a passion and profession. To me, the most important aspect to this exhibition is that we encourage each other.”

Seventy women artists reinterpret the female form at this exhibition

The Pondicherry Art Akademy Group Exhibition is on till March 30 at the Varija Gallery, Dakshina Chitra, Muttukadu. Timings are Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Tuesday is a weekly holiday. Contact 27472603 for details.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 8:21:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/women-artists-comment-on-the-female-form-pondicherry-art-akademy/article26644528.ece

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