Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"She Creates to Conquer" on 20 September 2014, 6 pm at Gandhara Art Gallery

“When an artist is a woman she is called ‘a woman artist’. On the other hand, when an artist happens to be a man, he remains just an artist. The ‘man’ in him seems to go for a toss!” – These were the opening lines of an essay by Art Historian, H. A. Anil Kumar on Indian Women Artists and Visual Culture in an exclusive edition of a renowned art magazine of the country a few years ago where he raised the question that ‘why is the Gender Issue so much Gendered...’ It was while contributing in the same edition of the art magazine as an art-critic and writer I was struck by this issue that visual art in India, despite its liberal reputation is still predominantly “A Man’s World”. 

Sarmistha Maiti
Filmmaker - Curator

In a country where the practice of art has flourished boundlessly since the inception of civilization and been at par with international standards even in modern times, why does then history fail to acknowledge even ten female artists who have reached legendary heights like their male counterparts in the last century? What is the necessity of this separate gender bracket of ‘women artists’ and how far is it justified? Is there anything really “feminine” or “masculine” about art? Do female artists only address “women-centric” issues in their art? What are the complex politics of “feminine”, “feminist” and “female-centric”? It’s high time to decode these issues which actually form the great ‘Gender-divide’ in the field of visual arts in India that has otherwise been essentially naturalized or taken for granted.

Standing in the second decade of the twenty-first century we are indeed at a crossroad of time. It is true that the scene for women artists has evolved a lot from the past with the opening of different forms of experimentation in different kinds of newer art medium and more and more women artists are getting prominence! But have we really arrived at a time when all gender norms will be thrown away and women will walk shoulder to shoulder with men? But why then is there so much unrest, so much violence against women and so much chaos and oppression? Is it the darkest hour of the night before a new sun can rise? Does future really hold good news for women? Will the coming century finally see women succeeding as much as men in every sphere of work including the field of visual arts?

‘She Creates to Conquer’ - the exhibition of Contemporary Art is a part of an independent documentary film also titled, ‘She Creates to Conquer’ by National Award winning Filmmaker Sarmistha Maiti who is also an Art Critic and Curator and this exhibition has been conceived by her that comes as the closing in the film, which is now in its production stage. ‘She Creates to Conquer’ is primarily a cinematic exploration of the position of female artists in the field of Contemporary Indian Visual Arts while focusing primarily on the artistic journeys of Amritah Sen, Nobina Gupta and Falguni Bhatt – three young female artists in the new millennium experimenting with newer and alternative mediums and striving to make their presence felt in the art world. The works of these three artists from different stages of their vocation will be showcased in this exhibition. The filmmaker-curator expresses her heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Sudipta Sen for lending her benevolent support by allowing this exhibition to happen at her gallery, the Gandhara Art Gallery of Kolkata.

AMRITAH SEN: Amritah Sen is a young Visual Artist from Kolkata. She did her graduation and post graduation in Fine Arts with specialization in Painting from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan. After completing her formal training in 1999, she came back to Kolkata and started on her own in the creative journey and in all these fifteen years, she has come a long way bringing changes into the perception of art and aesthetics through her executions of non-formal art, largely creating 2 D and 3 D collages, book art, paper installations, art objects, sharing personal anecdotes connecting with the universal thought-process. Amritah’s works have been showcased in many acclaimed galleries nation-wide as well as she has participated in important exhibitions on contemporary art in Germany, Kuwait, Egypt and in the Royal College of Art, London. Amritah loves communicating with people and such interactions become a large part of her works where she refuses to accept the stereotypical notions and norms of art execution and their display. Amritah’s works have been collected by buyers from across the country and also from abroad.

NOBINA GUPTA: Nobina Gupta is a Visual Artist in her early 40s based in Kolkata who has been formally trained in fine arts from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan with painting as her specialization. Nobina is one such exponent of contemporary Indian art who has largely voiced on environmental issues, preservation of flora and fauna, the significance of the microbial world through her art connecting the physical reality of survival and the struggle behind it to the greater philosophy of existence. Oriental philosophies constitute a large part of her drawings and paintings both in the level of formal execution and thought process. She has done a number of solo exhibitions that included her drawings, paintings, experimental sculptures, installation, and video art providing an array of creativity to the audience to perceive. She has showcased her works in the international galleries in Basel and Zurich in Switzerland where most of her works were sold out on the opening days of the exhibitions. She is a UGC NET scholar and was also a Lecturer at the Apeejay School of Designing in New Delhi. Apart from her regular exhibitions, she was selected to execute a huge installation, “Kalpa-Taru- The Wishing Tree” for the India Art Fair that has been permanently installed in an art hub in Maihar, Madhya Pradesh. Last but not the least, she takes a lot of interest in Public Art projects and this year she is one among the six participants who has been selected for the “Earth Project” from all over the world by the Japan Foundation to be held in Leh-Ladakh.

FALGUNI BHATT: Flaguni Bhatt’s journey in the art world began in 1992 when she joined the BFA course in Sculpture in MS University, Baroda and finally completed her MFA in 1999 from the same University. She took interest in Ceramics during the end of her graduation course. She has majorly changed the perception of ceramic art and transformed this generally perceived as craft material into experimental and avant-garde art. Clay has remained to be the most intriguing element in her art execution and she has worked with this material to the optimum and played with architectural space in devising the subject her work through hanging installations etc. Since the beginning of the new millennium she has remained dedicated to this alternative sculpting medium and took her journey ahead. Apart from setting up ‘Aorang Studio’ in Kolkata which happened after her marriage, Falguni has done regular exhibitions nation-wide and is the recipient of Residency Scholarship at Barcelona, Spain in 2005. She is also an AIFACS award winner, a national level exhibition held in New Delhi and has largely showcased her works in Kolkata, Bhopal, New Delhi, Baroda and many more cities of India.

You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition of contemporary art , "She Creates to Conquer" on 20 September 2014, 6 pm at Gandhara Art Gallery, Flat 5 A, Palm Spring, 1 B  Gurusaday Road, Kolkata 700019. (The exhibition continues till 22nd September 2014 , 1 pm - 7 pm.)

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Thanks for comment JK