A form of beauty augmented with silence - this is a women like no other. Dressed in a white gown with its usual folds and wrinkles, she is going through her daily comforts and struggles. The art work of the Kolkata based artist says it all and every piece has a mood of serenity to pass on to its viewers. Her eyes implores while the gesture personifies it barely, this helps every work to unfold into a new life situation. She longs for something and at times walks away from it, accepting the reality of life with wide hands - all these are works of natural colours laid with a gentle hand, spread on silk paper and tempera. The next is more subtle; a lady weak enough to die soon being looked upon by a group of crows with hunger, is portrayed in the frame. Another woman, rendered in fabric and white paint, carries a child on her lap walking down the road away from someone, while yet another, a paper pulp acephalous sculpture washed with stone colour, bears shade of multi colours airing human figures.
"I moved to Baroda from Shantiniketan in the early part of my life just like my ancestral shift from Bangladesh, having to mix with people from totally different socio-economic background, hence the idea of migration, dislocation, existence of oneself all comes to my work," says Sharmi Chowdhury who is currently exhibiting her works at Gallery Veda, Chennai. She says some of the works are the reflection of her past and the way she felt at that time. But bringing it into the canvas was never a conscious act, it suddenly appeared in the paintings and simply stayed. "Maybe, it was entrenched in my subconscious mind," she says with a confident smile. "I think my works create a visual world of its own, easy for the viewer to understand and the rest is open for them to perceive. Now I don't even plan things, I just allow my mind and heart to do the job".
So it comes as no surprise that women in various avatars drift through the exhibition titled 'When Images Speak Back'. And shows that life comes to a woman in various forms where Sharmi has sensibly chosen a few. A large canvas holding a large banyan tree with a bat hovering above it rendered in shades of green and coffee brown, holds a steel sculpture in front of it. The exemplary white painted sculpture shows a young besom sleeping on a swing peacefully and carries the name "Darkness waiting for a spark of the light" across its white background while another portrays a young girl accompanied by a dog on a boat, gazing at nothingness. The exploration of oneself and their inner feeling is a key theme, with multiple women and her surroundings based paintings and sculptures forming part of the show.
In her typical style, most of the art works are in shades of white. "White colour gives a lightweight feeling and I like to show characters with a weightless body and a free mind. Figures in light colours convey their presence powerfully when among darker ones. It is also because I want to connect the viewer to the person in the painting in the simplest way with no involvement of multiple colours with multiple meanings. Simplicity is what I aim for," says the freelance artist.
'When Images Speaks Back' which was inaugurated on December 17 will be on till February 28 at Gallery Veda, Nungambakkam - timing 11.00 am to 7.00 pm.