The mystique of the night was besotting. It was as though silver sparkles has been thrown onto a blanket of black paint. Such was the glory of the velvety starry night that beckoned 12-year-old Suruchi Jamkar to look outside her window and make a wish. “Dear universe, I wish to paint. I want to colour my existence with inspiring hues of strength and candour. Help me get to the right place.”
The universe kept its promise. Many years later she is living her dream. Speaking to us from her 28th solo exhibition called A Tale of Eternity and Tranquillity, Jamkar pays tribute to her destiny through her splendorous paintings. She graduated from JJ School of Art, Mumbai. Surprisingly, she knew as a 12-yearold girl that she would make it to this college.
“I was very aware as a child about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. I had heard of JJ School of Art when I was little and affirmed to myself that I would make it one day and I did,” she says. This 28th solo show marks the culmination of a series, the start to which goes back to her first exhibition in 1999.
The subject was completely different from the strong women figures she paints today. Back then, ants were her greatest fascination. Inspired by the Impressionists, she decided to attempt an impressionist piece by keeping a bunch of bananas on a table, under the glistening summer sun, to paint the changing qualities of light. Right then, she noticed two ants hovering around. “I remember being extremely intrigued with the way they just keep going. I became obsessed with studying them. In fact, I even killed a couple to understand their anatomy under a microscope.
My friends would call me mungi which means ant in Ma r at h i ,” she laughs. But the ant fixation didn’t last forever. As she matured and started a family, and gradually strong feminine elements became dominant in her work. In A Tale of Eternity and Tranquility, the visuals glorify ‘Girl with a turban’ , ‘Reclining figures under the starlit skies’ , ‘Friends playing a game of marbles’ , ‘Sculptures from ancient temples’ and several other portraits of women. “The marble work is especially close to me as it represents an activity from my childhood when things were so simple. A game of marbles was all we needed to bond,” she reminisces. Red holds a strong symbolic value in her paintings.
It represents her inner spirit, she says, which is fearlessness, honest and loving. She uses monochromes when the message is straight and simple. A more complex colour scheme represents interpretations in her work. But whatever the nature of Jamkar’s art, one thing stands unchanged. It’s her ability to pick up a knife, a dry bush and let the strokes become metaphors of continuity for eternity. Till December 10, from 11 am to 5 pm at Art Gallery of the Embassy of Peru, 66 Vasant Marg, Vasant Vihar.