Thursday, July 25, 2013

Profile - Vartika Singh, Bombay Landscape, The Voyage and more..


Grasping A Silver Moon Beam  -  Vartika Singh

She lifts her face to the inimitable blue of the sky, her hands gently release the bird. She cranes her delicate neck to see bird wings kiss soft clouds sounding divine symphonies with each flap. Vartika Singh’s women yearn to create such resonating symphonies in their lives as much as they crave for a taste of ‘real’ freedom, a freedom of thought and action, observes Sushma Sabnis.

(Artist Vartika Singh)
With a MFA degree in painting, from the Aligarh Muslim University, Vartika is not the first woman artist to articulate her thoughts and concerns about women and women’s issues. But Vartika delves a lot more deeper than most. She draws inspiration from the women around her. Her neighbours  her relatives and her friends, who, with their very existence and ability to multitask faultlessly, inspire the artist to look into their private lives as women, as individuals.

What she does find however, is a duality, a deep set longing unseen by outsiders and even the people around them. This longing is not a romantic one for a lost love, but for a love much more alluring than the one felt for a person. It is the love for an independence, a longing for freedom of the spirit. Vartika believes women, irrespective of the country or generation they were born in, lead a subtly bridled life. Irrespective of their social standing, professional and personal strength, financial independence, women seem to be bogged down and unable to move to a higher, freer level of existence. 

The artist articulates her empathy for these women through her ongoing series of works titled, ‘Wish I Could Fly, Like You Do’. This recent series focuses primarily on women and their quest for an internal freedom which is as much a tangible reality as is their need for stability in life. The artist paints and draws the protagonist of her works, a woman, in her own distinct figurative style. The woman seems to be seated in most of the paintings, either holding a bird or a strand of beads or a flower. Each of these elements are symbols indicative of the woman’s struggles or her passion and at times her fantasies. 

In all of Vartika’s paintings, the woman depicted is an Indian, saree clad traditional woman. Her forehead is at times smeared with the wedded auspiciousness of red kumkum and she sits on the floor, earthing herself almost with an unshakeable grounded-ness. Like a tree that has its roots clutching the soil, while its leaves rise up to touch the sky, Vartika’s women sometimes, look up in hope and optimism, and at times bow their heads to an invisible burden of a reality, rarely expressed by them.

In one of her soft pastel on paper works, the woman looks at a strand of beads which could be a ceremonial chain/ binding which ties her down, weighing heavy on her conscience. The artist gently brings the viewer’s attention to the woman’s facial expression, which is replete with unanswered questions. The sensitivity in Vartika’s paintings is obvious, but the strokes the artist employs in her works are sharp and almost retaliatory in nature. Somewhere one would see the artist mirroring these women's fragility and helplessness. The need to break free of bonds and bindings of all kinds, physical and mental resonate in her works. 

The works are dominated by two or three colours, red, blue and black. When asked about the specific dominance of these colours, the artist explains the symbolism relevant to her. Blue is the colour of the sky also freedom and flight, red is an important colour in a woman’s life, it could depict auspiciousness and alertness or even danger. It could depict the burning of the earth’s core or an emotion like anger, kept in check in social scenarios. Black lines the white-ness of things, defining them and classifying them as good or bad, day or night, black creates the balance of energies. 

Interestingly, in one of her works on paper, she depicts the woman protagonist sitting looking up at the slice of a midnight moon, her hands have red bangles and ankles have red anklets, the colour oddly quietens the image, especially when the sky has flecks of red mirrored in it. Birds fly in a group in the moonlight and the woman sits silently witnessing, what could only be a night of endless waiting, an empty grasping of a silver moon beam.

Though Vartika’s work concentrates more on women as protagonists, the concept of a personal freedom is more a larger human issue that she addresses. The freedom a human being seeks from social, political, religious, personal and professional bindings or expectations, to breathe free and to be true to one’s own self in thought and action, without obligatory crutches is what the artist seeks to unearth,  a truly independent exalted human spirit.

Vartika  likes to work in the charcoals, soft pastels, acrylic on canvas and on paper, having explored numerous other mediums. Her recent foray into film making and video art has got her recognition as a featured artist in the International Film Festival held at Delhi. With deep insights, a subtle, sensitive expression and keen observation of the world around her, this young artist, promises to shine bright in the future.

Vartika Singh currently lives and works in New Delhi.


Two leads to dialogue

Experimenter Kolkata in partnership with Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council presents a video presentation curated by Avijna Bhattacharya and Rikimi Madhukaillya who have been mentored by the Swiss curator, Mirjam Varadinis. 

The idea behind curating a programme of videos with works of Swiss and Indian artists generated from interactions between Mirjam Varadinis, curator, Rikimi Madhukaillya and Avijna Bhattacharya when Pro Helvetia brought them together in New Delhi in 2011.

Over the decades, two dimensional imagery used to propagate thought and artistic ideas has progressed to moving visuals for a more complete experience. In India, we have seen the advent of the television, videos, cam corders, telecasting, cyber spatial interactions, audio-visuals, dvds mobile phone video transmission etc 
The show addresses the changes over the years as a sort of cultural exchange with the 
two countries,with Swiss and Indian video art as the centre point, and takes off from there for possible collaborative projects and concerns.

The volatile state of ideas which can be largely categorized are videos which are interactive and performance based, videos/short animation films, the videos that have a strong documentary self and the ones which very playfully have erased the borders of drawing individual images and those of moving ones.

The programme is on view till the 25th July 2013.

Couple of Figurations

The Azad Bhavan, Indian Council For Cultural Relations, New Delhi, presents a couple’s show of figurative works.

Delhi based couple Prashant K. Sarkar and Kirti B Sarkar will be exhibiting their collection of paintings. Both Prashant and Kirti have a Bachelors degree in fine arts from College of Art, New Delhi.

Kirti uses a mix of bold colours and intricate designs with a touch of nature in almost all her works. Her artworks have a strong influence of the famous folk art Madhubani style. Her husband Prashant comes from a family of painters, who is also the founder of Kalakriti Foundation, Delhi. 
Prashant’s work also is figurative in style with a lyrical quality to the figures he paints.

The show is on view till the 28th of July 2013.

Bombay Landscape Show

(A work by Tina Chandroji)
The Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai presents a solo show of recent works of artist Tina Chandroji, titled, ‘Bombay Landscape’. 

The paintings rendered in oil on canvas, explore the connection between different businesses, cultures, religions and communities. The businesses picked by the artist include vegetable shop, bakery, flowers' stall and a paan shop. Through various religious symbols, the paintings clearly show how certain businesses are run by people belonging to specific communities.

The works are attentive to detail and at the same time present a holistic view of a business, subtly bringing out the perspectives the artist employs to look at a thing as varied and distracting as a shop laden with goods to be sold.
She presents  a snap shot of Indian culture of the business community and it is a rich and vibrant visual.
The show previewed on 24 July, and the exhibition continues till 10, August 2013.

The Voyage in History
( A work on display at the show)
Sublime Galleria, Bangalore presents a unique show titled, ‘The Voyage’. The show displays works from the collection of art collector Sonu Mirchandani. The works on display are historic maps and ship models from years of collections. Rare maps,historical scaled model ships and voyade memorabilia are on display at the show.

The artist believes that these objects, found and collected over the years are not just art from the past, but also educative history of ancient times, routes, people and customs etc.

Inspired by the book, ‘ The Map’ by Colette Baron Reid, the artist dispalys this collection which inspires her works, and also are a reminder of the 14th to 18th century travels of people from all over the world.

The show is on view till the 10th of August 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

No comments:

Post a Comment