One of the exhibits at En-Gender at Studio 21. Picture by Pabitra Das
Even today, a woman artist has more hurdles to cross than her male counterpart. Perhaps realising this, Studio 21 has organised an exhibition of the works of seven woman artists — titled En-Gender — with the professed aim of increasing the visibility of women’s art.
The show was opened in the presence of the artists on August 26. It will continue till September 17. The works on display are thought provoking, some of them quite unique.
Pratyusha Mukherjee has played with the textures and motifs of nature, drawing on the aesthetic pleasures of music and poetry. Her paintings have a serene and melancholic aura.
Meenakshi Sengupta, on the other hand, is out to wreck the unquestioning reverence for cultural authenticity. Her approach to “high art” is witty and full of satire, which is visible both in her style and technique.
Especially interesting is her installation titled Mother India, where she has used the image of a wax doll in three mediums — on the wall as a photograph, the actual doll on a podium and its burning image on a TV screen.
Geeti Karmakar’s installations try to capture the organic growth of the world with a pensive mood. But more interesting is her series of paintings titled “Pen and ink on paper”, where she has captured a batua (traditional women’s handbag) from different angles, creating a simple yet powerful set of visuals.
Arunima Sanyal has searched for the meanings of objects through a woman’s eye, seeing history and culture in the context of feminine desires. Tisha Mondal’s “Desire” series is also eye-catching.
Sudipta Das’s works are compelling. In her painting, Tea wash on paper, she has infused an iconic image of Tagore with mundane familiarity, using a medium that has given a subversive texture to her work.
She has used the same technique to create another riveting image — that of Monalisa sitting with a woman with ordinary looks. Painted meaningfully in fluorescent colours, the painting carries a suggestive title: You and me?
Sheersha Mukherjee’s series “Things in the mirror are nearer than they appear” present another appealing set of visuals. She has created collages with images of everyday Calcutta — hoardings, posters, autorickshaws, signposts, traffic hurdles, roadside fortune-tellers and more — arranging them in a sequence to create aesthetic irony. Her works are among the most poignant ones on display.
The most attractive piece is the installation by Mukherjee titled Shoes that fit and shoes that don’t. Canvas shoes painted with acrylic are hung from the ceiling with a mirror in the background. Apart from being rich in visual appeal, this effortless image presents startling semantic nuances and shades. Playing with symbols and identities, Mukherjee’s art shows a rare maturity.