Monday 2 April 2018

Virago ... solo show by Pradnya Khandgaonkar


वह तीर थी,
तलवार थी,
भालों और तोपों का वार थी,
फुफकार थी,
हुंकार थी,
शत्रु का संहार थी..
- Tribute to Rani Durgawati

Pradnya’s works are addressing the strength of women: man-like, a female warrior. ‘Heroine’ is the English word for Hindi वीरांगना (vīrāṅganā) or rather, a ‘Virago’. However, with time the meaning of Virago shifted towards negativity as fighting battles, wearing men's clothing, or receiving the tonsure was not considered as women’s prerogative. So, virago is used disparagingly, to imply that a woman was not as excellent or heroic, but was instead violating cultural norms.

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी, वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी

(Queen of Jhansi fought like Virago)

Yet, we appreciate Queen of Jhansi Rani Laxmibai, Gondwana Queen Durgavati, AwadhBegamHazarat Mahal, SavitribaiPhule, Sarojini Naidu, Indira Gandhi and so many.

Pradnya Khandgaonkar

It is surprising that Pradnya asked me to write for her catalogue. As a man, I find it challenging to think like a woman as her works provoke layered feminine angst. Although, by nature, men are masculine and has physical strength, with technical advancement it is the intellect that is considered real strength. In spite of it, there are millions of women abused by men who are still influenced with their false ego. It is in the hope of humanity that these tortured women survive and very often emerge stronger than men. As Pradnya says, “I feel women have strong personalities and should be portrayed as a blend of power and care.” The sheer ability to care for others is the source of power and greatness that needs to be recognised and depicted.

recent work by  Pradnya Khandgaonkar
In Pradnya’s paintings, the women sometimes wear naqaab, army uniform or they are nude, holding symbolic routine issues like abuse, fear, war, peace, erotism, love and our planet. The violence and abuse has a subtle and restrained quality in her works. Her rendering has a very delicate and detailed quality that evokes a quizzical experience in the viewer’s mind. The visuals are calm and meditative without direct propaganda but keeping the silent boldness of the rebelliousness towards the social oppression. It is obvious from the works that the artist looks at the subjects’ contexts analytically and turns to swim out of the vortex. Her ‘women’ give an unshakeable positive motivation to aspire and admire.

Rajesh Pullarwar
Artist / Curator

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Thanks for comment JK