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Empowering women through the medium of art and colour

Manisha Jha



Shaded to speak: A painting by Sunita Sharma displayed at her exhibition ‘Catharsis’

NEW DELHI: For 40-year-old artist Sunita Sharma, life has been all about waiting in the wings. Hailing from the small town of Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, this artist, poetess and women’s empowerment advocate has come a long way to claim her share of the limelight.

Currently a solo exhibition of 15 of her paintings and drawings titled ‘Catharsis’ is on at the Press Club of India here till July 20.

Having exhibited her paintings in Delhi as part of a group show earlier, the artist in Sunita, however, was far from satisfied. Says Sunita : “I always wanted to do my own solo show in Delhi because group shows don’t give us the kind of recognition and appreciation that we artists need. So with ‘Catharsis’ my fondest wish has come true. This is my first solo show in Delhi and I have extended it by another week in view of the encouraging response.”

Combining layers of handmade paper-sheets, acrylic water colours and charcoal for drawing, most of her creations are made with ‘mixed media’ and explore the theme of woman’s empowerment through poignant artistic representations.

“The word ‘catharsis’ means purging of repressed emotions and feelings so as an artist I have tried to depict through my work my inner emotions as a woman. I feel a woman is God’s greatest creation. However, our male dominated society doesn’t allow her to blossom to her full potential,” she says.

Of the 15 creations, 14 are in black and white. “Just like black is a powerful colour that absorbs all the other colours, similarly women too are powerful creations who despite numerous obstacles in their way are capable of absorbing all negativities in life.”

A long journey

Painting since the age of five, Sunita has been part of many group and solo exhibitions in Madhya Pradesh but owing to family problems and her small town background she was unable to get her work showcased at any major private gallery in the metros. “There is no awareness and opportunity for artists to grow in such an atmosphere. It is very difficult for us small time artists to be given a place in this age of commercialisation of art.”

In addition to being an artist, Sunita is also a master trainer at the Women and Child Development Centre in Rewa. “All my artistic thoughts which couldn’t take the form of poetry or written word took the form of paintings for as long as I can remember. As I grew older, I got involved with many self-help groups engaged in women’s empowerment and training and since then this theme has become very closely associated with my artistic side,” says Sunita, adding, “Through my work my ultimate aim is to make women at the grassroots level and in small towns realise that they are capable of bigger things in life if they wake up to their potential.”

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