It was a lovely night in 2014. Artist Meera Krishna, who loves nocturnal life, was sitting in her room, lost in her world. A moth resting on her bag suddenly caught her attention. Not as charming as a butterfly, it had something alluring that gravitated Meera towards it. The image got etched in her mind and in no time, the moth became a part of her creative journey.
My Nocturnal Life, an exhibition of 18 paintings, made using soft pastels, acrylic and etching with aquatint, going on at Durbar Hall in Kochi, showcases the moth series. Most of them are self-portraits with moths fluttering around. “Most moths are nocturnal. Like them, my creative instincts too become active during the night. Hence, I chose moths to describe my intense emotions,” says Meera, a graduate in Fine Arts and English Literature.
Her literature background reflects in some of her works. Beside her first painting — a self-portrait with a moth on shoulder — exhibited there, is written these lines, “I kept on gazing on my new entity/trying to read the pulse/ those eyes were confessing/ the secrets behind my nocturnal life!!!
“There are paintings derived out of poems and vice versa,” she says. Meera’s paintings are honest portrayals of the artist’s thoughts. Looks like her brush has dived deep into the layers of her mind, picked up on emotions and painted them on canvas accompanied by moths. In another self-portrait, we see the artist clad in red saree and white blouse, sitting on a swing tied onto a traffic signal pole and petting a moth. The pole is erected on a ground and is covered with creepers with little white flowers. “The signal pole struck my mind during college days. I imagined how it would look if a creeper grew on it and have brought that thought here,” says Meera.
In some of her works, she uses the imagery of the moth to describe the evolution of a human being. For instance, the painting Destination has larva coming out of its abode. The larva is in search of its destination, but the roots of its abode hold it back.
The woman in the painting turns more intense and playful towards the end of the display. Flower is a prominent element here. In A Midnight Life, we see the woman holding the moth’s legs with the tip of her tongue as it tries to reach the flower on her head.
In Seduction, we witness the woman yielding to feelings, while Expectation portrays a naked woman pregnant with poetic sperms. ‘Don’t question the paternity of my/ pre-maturely forming lyrical foetus,’ reads the poem alongside. My Nocturnal Life is open till Sunday.