What is the best love in the world? If you throw this question at artist Meera K., her answer will be ‘self love’. She believes that loving oneself is the root of evolution and happiness. Her ongoing show Autobiography of a Narcissist, a collection of self-portraits in mixed media, at Durbar Hall Art Gallery, Ernakulam, is a visual representation of her musings. “They are my longings, joys and pains. These are either my attempts to see the world through my eyes or to show the world my petite world,” says Meera, who believes that every artist is a narcissist in one way or the other. “I have used the term ‘narcissist’ in a romanticised and positive way, not the crude and literal way, which is slightly negative,” she confesses.
There are 30 paintings on display in the two galleries on the ground floor. This time, Meera, who had earlier done a ‘moth series’ where she included moths along with her portraits, have brought more found objects and beings from nature. “Moths are my favourite. I am a nocturnal being like them. In this exhibition, I have painted ‘luna moth’, my dearest of all,” Meera chuckles.
Her works also carry objects found from her surroundings such as dry leaves, wild mushrooms, flower petals, dead moth, shells, abandoned bird nests, cobwebs, creepers, cloths and her hair. She has used them to embellish her colourful and mostly melancholic portraits. “I have the habit of collecting curios. Whenever I visit beaches, I collect interesting shells. Those shells are used in this,” she explains pointing at the portrait of a jubilant woman lying on a beach leaving her hair open, wearing a chain with a shell pendant. Another portrait has dry leaves as adornment, which she says, was collected from the premises of OED gallery, Mattancherry, in 2016. “The birds’ nests are from our yard. I took them when birds left it behind,” she smiles. “I have also tried to paint insects other than moths, this time to show the need of harmony between humans and nature.”
However, in certain paintings, Meera has taken the artistic freedom to change their habitats. The work ‘The Petite Life’, a symbolic work depicting the circle of life where a moth is her daughter, is an example.
The show concludes on Tuesday....