Feminity portrayed on canvas

Works capture social issues, beauty and hardships of everyday life

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 24.09.15
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Artists Manisha Samal and Alpana Kar (below) at the
Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 23: In an age of female emancipation, women still find it difficult to excel in life - while some are held back by the society that frowns upon their ambitions, some others are hit by financial constraints.

Artist duo Manisha Samal and Alpana Kar have explored these themes in their paintings at an exhibition - Drishti - hosted by the Odisha Modern Art Gallery. Their works portray social issues and capture the beauty as well as hardships of everyday life.

The artists have used abstract art to depict women in society, using acrylic and watercolour. Manisha has explored the life of women - often controlled and given limited resources to pursue their goals. One of her works depicts a female figure against a colourful backdrop with a pattern of bubbles - symbolising their hopes and dreams. She has picked a colourful palette to create geometric patterns in the backdrop of her subject.

Alpana has used traditional elements to represent female figures in a rural surrounding. Using monochrome backgrounds, her subject is painted in contrast to draw attention. Her themes are also versatile and varied. In one of her works, a woman is holding water pots and trying to balance them, while in another, she has painted Krishna with a mystic charm.

"We have 45 paintings and drawings on display here. While most of it is based on the thoughts and life of women, we have also touched upon themes such as landscape, mythology and abstract works," said Alpana.

It is difficult for such artists, especially women, to survive in the state unless they explore galleries outside Odisha, said one of the artists.

"Most of our seniors either find it difficult to support their families after marriage. Also, many women lack financial support because art involves expensive materials. But, we have decided to keep painting and exhibit our works together," said Manisha.

"They are young and have done well for their age. Their talent must be groomed since the state badly needs female artists to grow," said Padma Vibhushan recipient and veteran sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, who inaugurated the exhibition on September 19.

The exhibition concludes on September 25.