BANGALORE: Art has always struck a chord with all living entities. Being the ultimate act of liberation, it is no doubt the focal point of our existence. Seeking abstraction in reality, and simplicity in surrealism, artists have always expressed a desire to paint the world through their eyes. Through art, human beings discover the true meaning of oneness and passion. For, it is in this mode of expression that we see a state where beauty meets brutality, aggression meets serenity and indulgence prances around with divinity.
Be it music, dance or visual art; artists have often sought harmony and philosophy in their work. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, art was a privilege restricted to men. However with changing times, women soon emerged as primary contributors in various fields of art right from the Renaissance, Baroque to the contemporary era. On International Women’s Day, City Express talks to women artists to find out how their ‘feminine identity’ aids or hinders their relationship with art.
“I think, without a doubt, that art and design instill a sense of hope. It has been a part of many revolutions around the world. We take for granted how images affect us and the choices we make on a deep subliminal level. Art in all its forms also resonates with both the community and the self. When I see Van Gogh’s pale azures, there is something in me that moves. In sufi terms: the Sagun (form) resonates with the Nirgun (formless) and becomes a way of accessing ideas, feelings and images that are universal and archetypal. And in that sense I think art is definitely a spiritual path. In my life I’ve found it in abundance and adornment. But for others they find a path in just the line or alignment of colours. A single brushstroke can erase a storm,” said Shilo Shiv Suleman, Indian illustrator, animator
and visual artist.
So, does her feminine identity have a certain amount of creative or non-creative influence in her art? Agreeing on the importance of dissolving all identities and connecting with all beings sans any preconceived notions, Shilo said that ‘being a woman’ reflects a lot in her work. “But on a deeper symbolic level, I feel myself quite drawn to a path of abundance, creativity, fertility which are all feminine. Having been brought up by a strong creative lady, I was always surrounded by prints of Ravi Varma’s Lakshmis, Saraswatis, lotuses, incense and Sufi poetry. I think that reflects a great deal in my art as well,” she further added.
True art knows no boundaries. And, for Tanvi Rao (Sulk Station), striking a balance between artistic expression and reality seems to hold the answers
to our existence. The singer feels that she does not consciously think of her ‘identity as a woman’ when she sings or writes. “However, sub consciously it might seep into my work. Being a woman is one of the core components of the person I consider as ‘me’. So, yes it does influence me because the things I think about, want and that upset me are inherently linked to this identity. I think the most important thing as an artist is to be sincere and honest. So if one, feels like he or she needs to evolve beyond the concept of an ‘identity’ and write universal songs then they should. It just has to be real,” said Tanvi.
Au contraire, Gowri Jayakumar feels that as an artiste one should exercise the liberty of self expression without the fear of being judged at all.
“It completely depends on what you want to express, or how you wish to express. Of course, being a woman is an experience on its own. I’m sure somewhere along the way, just as experiences inspire art, identity, gender and beliefs too will have strong influences. For me, music is extremely important. Just as one travels to uncover and experience stories of the world, music tells me stories, and I sleep better when there’s a substantial dose of music in my life every day,”
said the singer.
Weaving hues of emotion and melody into art, artists often discover peace in purity. And in this medium of expression, lies the true meaning of individuality. As William Dobells once said A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing. Surpassing all desires, these fiercely independent artistes too have time and again proved that art unravels a whole new dimension of greater possibilities.