The 1st verse of the 15th Chapter of Bhagavad Gita, sees Krishna explaining to Arjuna that life is like a Banyan tree, where people create the continuation of their existence by their own actions.
Seema Kohli’s recently concluded exhibition at the India Art Festival 2018, entitled ‘Tree of Life’ consisting of acrylics and inks on canvas with 24carat gold and silver leaves along with sculptures too took inspiration from those verses.
Her exhibitions showcased artworks that embody karma as people get entangled in their own births and rebirths through khel or maya.
Speaking to this correspondent Kohli, a veteran artist with a repertoire of over 35 years says that the Tree of Life, for her was a very important element of nature and looking back is perhaps a looming presence in all her works.
She went on to add, “It is as important as the embryonic form, as is it representational of steadfastness, rootedness, probably the only element of nature which expresses the connection of all the three worlds, or the trinity in Hindu mythology---the world beneath us (where the actual creation takes place, tamas)- Brahma, the world we are living in- Vishnu (or the sustenance or growth, rajas) ------ and also the heavens or the unknown –Mahesh (sattva, the seat of salvation or truth).”
Seema Kohli’s canvases are layered with stories rooted as much in philosophy as in knowledge gained in modern times, becoming, at times, a parable of tales both imagined and real, till one can no longer tell the real from the imagined.
Looking at her work, one might feel that a major inspiration for her is the Blue God Krishna.
The artist says that while myths and stories give her content, it is nature itself which is her biggest inspiration.
Kohli says that Krishna to her, is a human god, who sanctioned human behaviour and taught man to rise above it while living their daily lives.
Kohli who has had over 30 solo shows across Venice, Brussels, Melbourne, London, NY, Dubai, Singapore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore among other places says that her biggest inspiration is ‘life and breath’ around her.
“I see everything throbbing with a rhythm of life and action which is captivating,” the artist adds.
Art to Kohli is a form of communication between her self and the canvas. “It’s a secret language which I share with my self, once out of my studio it talks to everyone in the language they understand.”
As for what’s next for the artist, she concludes, “There are so many concepts, mediums and ideas to work on, experiment with. The time is limited. Let’s see what life has to offer. I take on the world with open arms whatever comes embrace it.”...