One word that is synonym to womanhood for Indians would probably be the ‘bindi’. The idea behind realising the bindi as a red dot is believed to express the subtle emotions and maturity of the woman that persuades her to create things including a new life as well as her crude side, which is fierce, and has the ability to destroy everything around her, at the same time. In other words, the bindi or the red dot encompasses various faces of womanhood that, in spite of being so unique, is not acknowledged by men and most of the times not realised by women themselves.
The thought of celebrating womanhood persuaded artist Suresh T.R. to curate an exhibition that would comprise women artists only painting their persona, womanhood. The exhibition, Red Dot, organised by Prussian Blu Art Hub and going on at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery has works of 21 female artists from various parts of our country.
While some of the paintings depict the adventurous women and those who accomplish their dreams, others try to portray the emotional tangents. The artists whose works have been exhibited include Anagha S. Menon, Anitha Swaroop, Asha nair, Avantika, Bhavana, Darshini, Deepa, Diya Mohan, Ganga Suresh, Hema Bidre, Hiranmayi, Induja, Kiran Kudalkar, Marina Francis, Melinda Antonio Vivera, Sarah Mariyam Cecil, Shalini Ramdas, Shwetha Patel, Sindhu Vyshak and Sreekala Naren. What makes it even more special is the presence of the renowned American artist Rocio Perez, who is a muralist and an avid traveller, drawing mural paintings in various parts of India for many years now. According to the artist, it was amid her travels that she observed and tried to understand the women of India and how their course of work changes with region, yet the emotion each one holds in her heart surprisingly remains the same.
Sharing her thoughts about the idea behind Red Dot, Rocio says, “It is really wonderful to see that a group of women is using their talent to portray womanhood at large. These women, through their paintings, have tried to give shape and fill colours to almost all the emotions a woman has within her, yet many are unable to express them. These paintings are their voices.”
Rocio has exhibited six of her paintings at the show, all of them in the medium acrylic and charcoal and framed using sarees, which, according to her, helps in carrying the paintings easily. The artist says that the quality of women in India to happily lead their lives and having no qualms about it without even realising that it might not be the way they had dreamt of living their life, is what intrigued her to the core. “While my travels through India, I happened to talk to many women and was surprised to see and experience their positivity and perseverance towards life. Not all are the same. If some are struggling hard to feed their husbands and children once a day, some are trying hard to juggle work and home. There are married women, single moms, widows and those who chose to remain unmarried, but each one of them has a common link, the strong will power to face any obstacle for her loved ones. I felt this is a rare phenomenon that needed to be celebrated,” she says, adding that Red Dot is her first ever exhibition in India.
The artist is all praise for the female artists starting from the age of 14 and adds that it was indeed an enlightening experience for her to collaborate with them and understand their craft from close proximity. She considers the opportunity to be one among the 21 artists as a privilege and hopes to come back to India for becoming a part of exhibitions more often.
Apart from the 48 paintings, Red Dot also has an installation, ‘Prathichaya’ by artist Shalini Ramdas. The installation made by carving twin mirrors showcases the duality in womanhood. Shalini shares her thoughts behind making the installation. “Prathichaya means image and by dedicating the installation to womanhood, I wanted to tell every woman out there that it is ‘you’ whom you are seeing, therefore I preferred to use mirrors. The pink portion reveals the calm and gentler side of a woman whereas the black one depicts her anger and the ability to destroy. The lines on this portion too are sharp when compared to the smooth ones on the other side,” she observes, adding that it was her conscious decision to give the installation a minimalistic yet deep approach.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Lakshmi Menon, founder of Wicksdom and co-founder of Chekutty, will go on till Sunday....