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Artist uses mirror as metaphor
Ramakant Samantray’s artworks with glass make poignant statements

Visitors look at the artworks at the exhibition titled Inside Outside at Lalit Kala Akademi in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, June 7: Artist Ramakant Samantray in his art exhibition titled Inside Outside, at Rashtriya Lalit Kala Akademi worked innovatively with mirrors.

Making metaphorical statements about the current happenings in the state, Ramakant had used his prop of new media art — the mirror — in interesting ways to express his perception of life. The artist had presented both psychological and social reflections that viewers found intriguing. On entering the gallery, one came across a pleasantly decorated dressing mirror.

Ramakant had even arranged cosmetics on the table that tempted the onlooker to glance at the mirror. “I am beautiful,” was written on the first mirror. But soon the other thoughts that grew in the mind after self-analysis were printed on the subsequent mirrors that read “I am ugly”, “I am stupid” and so on. However, the viewer tries to suppress these thoughts.

“A mirror speaks a lot and most of it is what we think inside. It could be thoughts that make us happy and also those that hurt us. Nevertheless, the mirror speaks truth,” said Ramakant.

“This collection is inspired from the artistic beauty of a mirror that I feel is an incomparable piece of art in itself,” said the artist.

In the next series, a visitor came across ink drawings. These were about mirrors that depicted men, women and children in different moods. Then there were photo cutouts from past and present that were pasted on mirrors.

These photographs dealt with a number of issues such as Naxalism, women issues, rampant industrialisation and its negative impact. One also saw a number of experiments with broken glasses at the exhibition. Ramakant had arranged the pieces of mirror according to the direction of light, so that the broken glass gave interesting reflections on the ceiling of the gallery.

The best of his works was definitely the grand collage of broken mirrors that were arranged in the shape resembling the map of Odisha. The artist allowed his visitors to draw on these glass pieces. “It is so creative to experiment with mirrors, something we use everyday and yet do not think deeply about. Each of the works at this exhibition was thought provoking,” said Kedar Mishra, an art enthusiast. The exhibition that was inaugurated on Monday came to an end today.