brush with art

Feminist Strokes

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At the Art Mall premises in Delhi, International Women’s Day saw 100 women painters conceptualise the theme ‘Stree’.

At the Art Mall premises in Delhi, Women’s Day saw 100 women painters conceptualise the theme ‘Stree’.

Women’s empowerment, evident at its keenest on International Women’s Day, has warranted a multi-lateral approach worldwide. At the Art Mall premises in Delhi, a mall exclusively dealing in art, this day has gelled into a tradition, wherein 100 women painters from across the country conceptualise the theme ‘Stree’. The result is a unique show, where women mirror themselves and their understanding of what it means to be feminine.

This year’s showing unearthed the variety of symbols and styles that underlined the theme. Predominantly an attempt to depict freedom, the artists emphasised the subtleties women employ to assert freedom. The geometric severity of Pragya Jain’s works, for instance, dwindled into a gossamer mesh as her ballet dancers swirled within it. The collage pieces in Savita Gupta’s composition hazily outlined a shadowy indistinct mass, whereas the foreground strokes clearly outlined a feminine form.

The ever-popular theme of mother and child was exploited in a number of works, adding variety to a common approach. Sculptor Timsi Anand chose extremities of the human form, particularly legs, to assemble the march of feminine power.Elsewhere, the Krishna lore was given a significant treatment as the Blue God was persona non grata, whereas the flute and the swirl of skirts reigned supreme. The more regular compositions of womanly groups were a familiar association, rounding the theme in a comforting wrap.

Departures from the usual treatment of the subject drew the strongest reactions. Ranjana Bharti’s spruce lines moulding a coloured globe lent itself to diverse interpretations. The charming self-portrait entitled Kali Kaluti by Sonam Jain packaged stark reality with humour. The cubist treatment of Gossip had technique to commend it, while My Violin Hair, with its predominantly pink overlay and childlike strokes, held immense promise.

With women being in the forefront, structured looks at womanly concerns such as fashion were inevitable and appropriate, making the show a worthwhile salute to the power of Stree.