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Wasted effort

A recent exhibition based on Kalidasa's Abhigyana Shakuntala was far from inspiring.



The works were based the time-tested theme of love.

FOR AN artist or a writer, inspiration could flow from many sources. Nature, for instance, provides a perfect setting for unfurling the kites of creativity for some, while g(r)azing at the internal landscape of one's own reality may stimulate some others. Similarly, perception of contemporary reality could kindle the creative fire while others could revel in unveiling layers of our `modern' myths. It is not unusual to find that evergreen episodes and events drawn from epics and mythological narrations also offer themselves as a splendid and unfailing source of infinite openings to many artists. Whatever be the source, it is not enough if the artist only gets obsessed with that rootstock without having commitment and discipline to absorb the inherent core of the subject or the ability and talent to `re-invent' her intentions on the chosen medium.

Prabha Shankar is an artist of the latter variety, finding motivation from specific episodes drawn from classics. For her current musing, Kalidasa's Abhigyana Shakuntala, the artist has based her works on the time-tested theme of love. A series of paintings — oil on canvas — was put up by the artist at the Lakshana Art Gallery from April 26 to 30.

As one watched the works displayed at the exhibition, several obvious inadequacies came to the fore. For one, the artist seemed to have been in an undue haste in showcasing her works. There was neither beauty nor grace in the works — both in comprehension and delineation.

The viewer could not even get a hint of a sincere exploration of the theme being attempted by the artist. It would have been nice if the artist had realised that depicting the masterful love story is no easy task, and that even acknowledged experts had often tottered in bringing out the various hues and intimations etched in the original work. Even formalising an episode on canvas, therefore, requires a high degree of commitment, talent, and ability. Prabha should have definitely tamed her enthusiasm, toned up her visual sensibility before attempting to put up her works on public display.

At least, before she thinks of any such efforts in future, a deliberate and conscious effort to unlearn what she has picked up so far, may not be a bad idea.

ATHREYA

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