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Engaging with migration, bonds, hierarchy and bondage

Madhur Tankha



"INSIDE OUTSIDE": A painting by Rashmi Trivedi

NEW DELHI: An exhibition of visual narratives by four women artists is now on at Anant Art Gallery in Defence Colony here. Organised by Mattersofart.com, the country's first art magazine on the Internet, the exhibition that includes works of Rupa Paul, Rashmi Trivedi, Rohini Singh and Rritu Singh will continue till this coming Friday.

Showcasing fragmented images in neon blank spaces, the works of Rupa show a migrant who from her middle-class ivory tower captures images of the male immigrant labourer. For the artist, the image of the male immigrant labourer symbolises her own migration and still existing feeling of being an immigrant in Delhi.

Rashmi's works engage with migration in an oblong manner; her story is more about her personal journeys through gender hierarchies, articulating what sometimes feels like helpless desire to subvert. Marriage is supposed to be a bond and our society advertises marriage through narratives that romanticise bonding. Rashmi's paintings raise uncomfortable questions, casting the word "bond" away from its attachment with "bonding" and casting "bond" more as "bondage". She chooses to employ a suburban kitsch interpretation of mediatic realism, holding on to certain "painterly urges".

Rohini's series of book format paintings also have an engagement with mediatic realism. The book format allows the artist to explore inter-linkages between the facing pages. Her work is different due to the constant refusal to accept the conventional understanding of the surface. Rohini has been constantly playing to eliminate the lines between the "surface", the "layer" and the "form", interweaving all three for a celebration of objects and the masculinities that surround her.

Migrations are not across space or time in Rritu's works. Hers is a journey across situations and the core of her works seeks to relate back to a period in her life when the artist "was literally living on the streets". The artist claims her works emerge through this tryst, haunting faces from the streets, melancholic yet hopeful.

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